Kupwara shuts to remember Jan 27, 1994 massacre victims

‘19 Yrs Ago On Jan 27, Soldiers Shot Dead 27 Civilians For Observing Strike On R-Day’

SHAHID RAFIQ

Kupwara, Jan 27: This frontier district observed a complete shutdown on Sunday to pay homage to 27 civilians killed on this day allegedly by Army for observing shutdown on January 26. The strike call was given by Hurriyat Conference (G) Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
 Life came to a grinding halt in Kupwara, Trehgam, Kralpora,Handwara and Lolab as shops and business establishments remained closed and roads wore a deserted look.
 People offered congregational Fateh-a-Khawani for the martyrs at different places including Mazar-e Shuda at Rigipora and different Masjids of the district.
 Recalling that fateful day a survivor told Greater Kashmir: “Around 11 am when shopkeepers were upping the shutters to start their routine business activities soldiers posted on (ROP)duty  opened fire from all the directions killing 27 people, including traders, some policemen and other  officials. At 12 PM the firing stopped. After unleashing death, soldiers asked survivors to assemble in the ground and undergo an identification parade.”
 He said that no one was allowed to lift the bodies and take the injured to hospital. “A boy died in front of his father, who begged the soldiers to allow him to take his son to the hospital. But soldiers didn’t pay any heed towards his pleas.”
 Another survivor said that two days before the massacre, soldiers had entered into a scuffle with policemen. “After the incident soldiers had warned the cops of dire consequences,” the survivor said, adding that strike observed by the people on January 26 added fuel to the fire and soldiers went on the killing spree next day. “The main target of Army’s firing squad was bus stand Kupwara and a Police Post on the old bridge. They mistook a forest guard Ghulam Muhammad Mir wearing Khaki uniform as policeman and shot him dead,” the survivor added.
 “It is unfortunate, the erring soldiers, who gunned down 27 civilians in this frontier district on January 27, 1994 for observing shutdown on R-day, continue to roam freely even after 19 years have elapsed. The memories of the massacre are still afresh in our minds and we are waiting for the day when the perpetrators would be punished” said a survivor.
 After the incident, police registered a case and assured the residents that erring soldiers would be punished. “There was no headway made after the case was registered,” said one of the survivors.
 One of the survivors said that the patrolling party of Punjab Regiment had warned the shopkeepers on January 25 of dire consequences if they observed strike on January 26 and didn’t celebrate the R-day.
 Meanwhile, Criminal Investigation Department (CID), with reference to a case filed by   International Forum for Justice and Human Rights headed by human rights activist Muhammad Ahsan Untoo, has written to State Human Rights Commission Kashmir vide letter NO. CID/HR/ SHRC/53 2012 dated 11 May, 2012.  “Inquiries reveal that Police Station Kupwara received information that soldiers of 31Medium regiment deployed on Road Opening Party (ROP)duty under the command of 2nd Lieutenant  Colonel S Bakhshi,  indiscriminately opened fire on civilians at bus stand Kupwara without any provocation and justification with criminal intentions which resulted into killing of innocent civilians. An FIR no- 19/94 us 302,307,149 RPC was registered and statements of eyewitnesses were recorded under section 161 Crpc. Finally the case was closed on 10-04-1997 on the basis of non-cooperation from army authorities. Despite repeated representations army did not disclose the whereabouts of the soldiers involved in the massacre,” states the letter, a copy of which is in possession of Greater Kashmir.

Lastupdate on : Sun, 27 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 27 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 28 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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