Bitta Karate trial: Srinagar court lists May 4 as next date of hearing
STATE TIMES NEWS
Srinagar: A court here on Friday heard an application for the opening of a criminal trial against separatist Farooq Ahmed Daar alias Bitta Karate in the murder of Kashmiri Pandit businessman Satish Tickoo in 1990, and listed the matter for further hearing on May 4.
Advocate Utsav Bains, who has filed the application on behalf of Tickoo’s family, told reporters they hope that they will get justice from the court.
Asked whether the video of Karate confessing to killing Tickoo was submitted in the court, the lawyer said it would be done in the course of arguments.
“We will do it in the due course of the arguments because in that video Karate says that he killed Tickoo because he was a member of the RSS. It is a submission of a cognizable offence,” he said.
He said the other side argued that a PIL by the NGO Roots in Kashmir seeking orders for investigation into cases of killings of Kashmiri Pandits in the valley was dismissed by the Supreme Court.
However, he argued that under the criminal law, the family had a right to take the other side for a criminal trial.
“The family of Tickoo did not go to the SC. We have not even filed an affidavit in the SC in the Roots in Kashmir petition. So, my right to criminal trial does not get affected by that PIL and the dismissal order,” he said. “My right in a criminal law, in a cognizable offence, still remains. We all know that the situation has improved in Kashmir, and the family after 31 years, wants justice and closure in this case. So, we are making all efforts under the criminal law, under the CrPC, to get Bitta Karate on the trail…,” Bains said. In an interview in 1991, Karate, now a leader in the outlawed Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), admitted that he had killed several Pandits, including Tickoo, during the peak of insurgency in the Valley in the 1990s. However, Karate subsequently said that he did not kill anyone and claimed that he “admitted to killings” only under duress. In June 1990, Karate was arrested under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act and was in jail till 2006, after which he was released on indefinite bail. He was arrested again in 2019 by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on charges of terror funding.