1990 Handwara massacre| Residents demand reopening of case

Despite passing of 25 years, the memories of October 1990 massacre still haunt the people of Handwara in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district with residents demanding reopening of the case to get it investigated afresh.
1990 Handwara massacre| Residents demand reopening of case
Representational Picture

Despite passing of 25 years, the memories of October 1990 massacre still haunt the people of Handwara in north Kashmir's Kupwara district with residents demanding reopening of the case to get it investigated afresh.

On October 1, 1990, soldiers of 13 Kumaon Regiment and personnel of Border Security Force (BSF) killed 22 civilians in Handwara town and set the town ablaze. The incident had taken place after a BSF personnel was killed in an encounter with militants in the town.

Muhammad Amin, one of the witnesses of the massacre, told Greater Kashmir that people were busy in their daily chores when a BSF trooper was shot dead in Handwara market. The personnel, he said, was among the three BSF men who were purchasing fish in Handwara town. He further said that BSF retaliated and killed the militant on the spot.

But the situation took ugly turn when, according to Amin, immediately after the incident, soldiers of 13 Kumaon guarding the Army convoy through the town went berserk and shot dead 22 civilians. 

"Without any provocation, Army opened indiscriminate fire on the commuters, shopkeepers and adjoining residential houses," he said, adding that they also set the town on fire.

Another survivor, Atiqullah said that indiscriminate firing by the Army continued for more than an hour, adding that the "troopers tried to roast some people alive."

 He further said that the 22 slain civilians included a mother and her son, living in the vicinity of Handwara town.

After the incident, police registered a case and assured the residents that incident would be investigated properly. Residents said that a First Information Report (FIR) was registered against soldiers of 13 Kumaon Regiment and BSF in Police Station Handwara. 

"Till this day, there is no headway in the case registered against forces," residents said, adding that they were waiting for the day when the killers would be punished.

The residents demanded that the case should be reopened, reinvestigated by some impartial agency so that culprits are brought to book.

Greater Kashmir
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