Supreme Court ordered appointment of a Commission to verify Panthers Party allegations & state counter charge

A Division Bench of Supreme Court of India comprising of JJ Mr. A.K. Sikri and Mr. R.K. Agrawal heard the writ petition filed by Panthers Party senior leaders namely Ms. Anita Thakur, Mr. H.C. Jalmeria, Advocate and Mr. P.K. Ganjoo, Sr. Journalist seeking criminal action against the erring police officials who were guilty of committing barbaric and inhuman acts against the petitioners while the petitioners were escorting a peaceful protest march of the Talwara (Reasi) Jammu Migrants from Reasi to Delhi seeking implementation of the Supreme Court order dated 13.07.2006 to provide relief to the Jammu Migrants at par with Kashmiri Migrants as per judgment of the High Court of J&K dated 2001 and the judgment/order of the Supreme Court of India to provide the Jammu Migrants equitable and same relief as was provided to the Kashmiri Migrants.

The Supreme Court had admitted this writ petition in 2007 and it finally was heard today the Supreme Court. Mr. K. Venugopal, Sr. Advocate and Prof.Bhim Singh, Sr. Advocate argued for the petitioners, Jammu Migrants urging the court for appropriate punishment to the police officials responsible for the assault on the Panthers Party activists including a lady, an advocate and a senior journalist. The Panthers Party has also demanded a compensation of Rs.10 lacs each to the arrested Panthers Party leaders and any other appropriate punishment to the police officials and other government agencies for causing injury for murderous attack on the petitioners.

Prof.Bhim Singh in his arguments submitted before the court that nearly 2000 migrants including women, old and children started their march for justice from Reasi to Delhi as per judgment/order of the Supreme Court of India dated 13.07.2006. The Supreme Court had directed the Union of India and Govt. of J&K to provide relief to the Jammu Migrants as per its direction given on 13.07.2006. He submitted before the court that Jammu Migrants hailing from the districts of Rajouri, Poonch, Reasi, Udhampur, Doda, Ramban, Kishtwar, Kathua and other places were completely ignored and they were not allowed even ration for their survival whereas the Kashmiri Migrants (hailing from province of Kashmir) were provided ration in cash and kind on regular basis by the Relief Commissioner working from Jammu. The Jammu Migrants were only tortured, ignored, sent to jails and their children were bought over by the outsiders. They were forced to sell a child for the survival of the rest of the family members. Prof.Bhim Singh told the court that migrants numbering 2000 including women, old and children were peacefully marching from Talwara on their way to Delhi to present memorandum to the Prime Minister. He told the court that these migrants were stopped by the Armed Police near Katra bridge, beaten, assaulted and not allowed to cross the bridge. He submitted before the court how Mr. H.C. Jalmeria, Advocate was taken into police custody when he approached the police to requesting them to stop beating the children and women on the road. Ms. Anita Thakur followed Mr. Jalmeria. Prof.Bhim Singh presented a film on this tragic incident. The Hon’ble judges screened the film. This film shows how Mr. Jalmeria was dragged into the police brigade, assaulted and attacked by the policemen with their lathies and shoes. His leg was broken. The film shows that Ms. Anita Thakur who went the police camp by herself to inquire about Mr. Jalmeria was pounced by the wolves (police in uniform), beaten, assaulted, attacked and then dragged like gunny bag on the stony road and packed into a police jeep. The film also shows how policemen in uniform were pelting stones against the innocent villagers on the road. The Hon’ble Judges after screening the film directed that, this court shall appoint a commission of inquiry which shall visit the areas and report back to this court within one month.

Mr. K. Venugopal, Sr. Advocate for the Panthers Party petitioners made a strong submission that the Hon’ble Court should take appropriate action against the erring policemen and pay appropriate compensation to the petitioners for their illegal, unconstitutional and undesirable arrest and for the loss they have suffered at the hands of the policemen.

The Supreme Court directed that the case shall be taken up after the vacation.

The other advocates who assisted Prof.Bhim Singh included B.S. Billowria, S.K. Bandopadhyay and others.  Mr. Sunil Fernandes and others appeared for the State of J&K.

Prof.Bhim Singh expressed happiness that this case which was filed by the Panthers Party in 2007 came to the final hearing after nine years by the Hon’ble Supreme Court.