Troops involved in Kupwara massacre be brought to book

Srinagar, January 26, 2018 (PPI-OT):In occupied Kashmir, the Chairman of International Forum for Justice and Human Rights, Muhammad Ahsan Untoo, has said that the Indian troops involved in a deadly massacre in Kupwara in 1994 be brought to book. Muhammad Ahsan Untoo in a statement issued in Srinagar said that justice continued to elude the families of the victims of Kupwara massacre and memories of the carnage were still fresh in the minds of people.

Muhammad Ahsan Untoo had filed a petition in the Human Rights Commission of the territory about the Kupwara massacre but the victims had not yet received justice. It was on 27th January 1994 when 27 civilians, mostly traders of Kupwara town, fell to bullets of Army men in the town adding to the long list of killings of innocent civilians in such massacres carried out by Indian forces in the Valley.

The survivors said that the massacre was carried out by the Indian soldiers to punish the people for observing shutdown on January 26. Ghulam Hassan, a trader of Kupwara town, in a media interview said, a patrol party of Punjab regiment of Army had warned the shopkeepers on the eve of January 26 of dire consequences if they observe strike and didn’t celebrate the Republic Day.

He said on January 24, 1994 some Army men and policemen entered a verbal duel near old bridge Kupwara and soldiers threatened police of dire consequences after January 26 passes off peacefully. He said next day on January 25, some Army personnel called out worshipers from Jamia Masjid, Kupwara, and thrashed them including Imam of the Masjid. He said, on January 26 as usual people of Kupwara observed complete shutdown.

He said, “Next day, we met the then District Magistrate of Kupwara, Yaseen Shah at his residence. We returned after meeting the DC. As we were about to reach the old bridge a single firing shot was heard which was followed by a rain of bullets. All were seen running for safety, the firing lasted at least for an hour. I hid in a vegetable shop. After a lull I came out of the shop and there were horrific scenes of bloodbath all around,” he said.

Gulam Mohi-ud-Din Mir on the occasion said, “It was a foggy morning of Jan 27. The shopkeepers had hardly opened their shops. I was accompanying my brother Ghulam Nabi Malik, working in social forestry department, who was going to attend his duties at Divisional Forest Office, Zangli. As we reached near SDH, Kupwara, around 10:30am we heard some gunshots and within seconds there was firing from all directions.

A soldier at hospital road aimed at my brother who was wearing a Khaki jacket and shot at him. Several bullets pierced his chest and he fell on ground. He started bleeding profusely. I was not allowed to lift my brother and take it to hospital which was hardly 50 yards away from the spot. Resultantly, my brother died on the spot. I along with some other people took shelter on the upper storey of a medical shop and watching all this from a small door.

As the firing stopped, vehicles carrying injured started rushing towards the hospital, I saw an Army officer stopping a vehicle and asking the names and profession of the people. As a vehicle carrying injured was stopped on the hospital gate, a man was asked by the Army officer to get down from the vehicle. He was shot dead on the spot. Later, he was identified as Khazr Muhammad of Cheerkote (Lolab) who had argued with the officer that he was an employee in DC office Kupwara and he was taking his injured relative to hospital.

I still remember the Army officer firing at Khazr Muhammad from a point blank range. I also took my brother to the hospital where doctors said that he was brought dead. There I saw 18 bodies including bodies of two policemen who were in uniform. Later 9 more injured succumbed to their injuries.”

Abdul Ghani said, “After the gruesome massacre, the Army men asked us to assemble in a ground and undergo an identification parade. A boy of Awoora Kupwara died in front of his father, who begged the troops to allow him to take his son to hospital. But they didn’t pay heed to the pleas of his elderly father and left the boy to die.”

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