SRINAGAR: Thirty-two years after the killing of Kashmiri Pandit Satish Tickoo, a city-based court on Wednesday started hearing his family’s plea seeking a report on the progress of the investigation against former JKLF terrorist Bitta Karate in the murder case.
Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate had shot dead Tickoo, a businessman, outside his residence in Karfalli locality of Habba Kadal area in Srinagar on February 2, 1990.
The Session Court in Srinagar has kept the matter for the next hearing on April 16, Utsav Bains who represents the family told The New Indian.
Tickoo’s family had filed a petition in the court seeking a progress report and the conduct of “proper, fair and impartial investigation” monitored by the court. The family members were not aware of the progress of the probe in the murder case, the petition alleged.
“It (the start of hearing) has given a ray of hope to the family that is awaiting justice,” Bains said.
The advocate said that the court came down heavily on the Jammu and Kashmir government for not taking the case to its logical conclusion in all these years. “Why no charge sheet was filed against accused Bitta Karate. This hearing is a ray of hope for the family,” he added.
Accused Bitta Karate led the genocide of Kashmir Pandits in the Valley until his arrest in June 1990. In a TV interview, Karate had admitted to have killed at least 30 Kashmiri Pandits in 1990. “I used pistol to kill from a distance of 20 or 30 yards. Sometimes, I also used AK-47 rifles to fire at the security personnel,” he had said.
Karate was arrested on charges of murdering Tickoo and was released on bail without conviction after spending 16 years in jail. “After Bitta Karate’s arrest, the prosecution agency did not conduct proper investigation/prosecution. It is stated that neither the applicant nor any other family member was ever contacted or called by the police for the purpose of the investigation, verification etc,” the plea reads.
The petition, quoting the bail judgment of the TADA court, stated, “The court is aware of the fact that the allegations against the accused (Karate) are of serious nature and carry a punishment of death sentence or life imprisonment but the fact is that the prosecution has shown total disinterest in arguing the case.”
In an interview, Karate said he had killed 20 Kashmiri Pandits on the instructions of his bosses in the terror outfit. Bitta Karate is presently lodged in Delhi’s Tihar jail in a case of terror funding.
Following the release of movie ‘Kashmir Files’, several Kashmiri Pandit families have come out to narrate the horrific tales of their sufferings during their exodus from the Valley.