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NHRC Slams J&K Administration for Delay in Justice for Kashmiri Pandit Family

The NHRC directed the Chief Secretary of J&K to examine the issue with a "humane approach" and take appropriate action.

New Delhi, April 19, 2024: In a scathing indictment of the Jammu and Kashmir administration, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has slammed the government’s apathy towards the plight of a Kashmiri Pandit family who were victims of terrorism in the 1990s. The family, led by Rajinder Premi, has been fighting for justice for over three decades, seeking the implementation of a 2012 Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) order.

Rajinder Premi

The case revolves around the brutal murder of Rajinder Premi’s father, the renowned freedom fighter and scholar Sarwanand Koul Premi, and his young brother, Verinder Koul Veer, by militants in 1990. The family was forced to flee their home in Anantnag and has since faced immense hardship and loss.

The NHRC, in its order dated April 18, 2024, expressed deep concern over the “considerable delay” in implementing the SHRC’s decision, which recommended compensation and other forms of relief for the family. The Commission highlighted the “lack of sensitivity and compassion” displayed by the J&K administration towards the victims, whose right to life was tragically violated.

The NHRC order referenced several past judgements from the Supreme Court and various High Courts, emphasizing the binding nature of human rights commission recommendations. It criticized the J&K administration’s attempts to challenge the NHRC’s authority and jurisdiction, calling their actions “not in good taste” and “deplorable”.

The Commission further noted that the family’s suffering was compounded by the state’s failure to protect their life and property. It underlined the significance of upholding the rule of law and ensuring access to justice for victims of human rights violations.

The NHRC directed the Chief Secretary of J&K to examine the issue with a “humane approach” and take appropriate action. A compliance report is expected within eight weeks. The Commission also directed its Registry to transmit Rajinder Premi’s recent submission, along with the latest order, to the J&K administration.

This case underscores the ongoing struggle of Kashmiri Pandits who were forced to flee their homes due to militancy. It also highlights the crucial role of the NHRC in holding the government accountable for ensuring justice and protecting human rights.

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