Srinagar: The J&K High Court Monday issued notice on a Public Interest Litigation seeking an enquiry into the massacre of 35 members of the Sikh community at Chittisinghpora hamlet in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district in 2000.
Among other respondents listed in the PIL, a Division Bench of Justices Mohammad Yaqoob Mir and Muzaffar Hussain Attar issued the notice, returnable within two weeks, to state government through Chief Secretary and Indian Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi.
The others include Commissioner Secretaries of J&K General Administration Department, and Revenue besides Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Indian Ministry of Minority Affairs as well as chairman National Commission for Minorities.
The infamous massacre was carried out on the eve of then US President Bill Clinton’s visit to India.
Five days after the gruesome incident, army claimed it had neutralized five “foreign militants” involved in it. However, a probe by India’s premier investigation agency, the CBI, concluded that the deceased were innocent civilians killed in the fake encounter on March 25, 2000 at Pathribal village of Anantnag.
The PIL filed by Sardar Avtar Singh of Mehjoor Nagar here through his counsel advocate G M Wani also seeks directions to appoint a board for welfare of Sikh community in the state, commission to investigate the problems of Sikhs and suggest appropriate measures for their improvement in social and economic sectors.
The PIL also seeks directions for providing similar benefits to Sikhs to which other minorities are entitled to in different states of India under the National Commission for Minorities
Besides, it seeks directions to introduce Panjabi language Department in the University of Kashmir; financial assistance to deserving students for higher studies abroad; earmarking reservation for Sikhs of J&K in all state departments and other institutions including the legislatures, judiciary, executive and KAS, etc.
The PIL also demands directions to delimit legislative assembly constituency for Sikhs in the state, conducting elections of Gurudwara Prabandak Committee(s) in Kashmir and audit of the last Gurudwara accounts throughout the state.
Lastly, it seeks directions to respondents to take all measures to promote the “Khalsa” community of Jammu and Kashmir.