Nadimarg massacre: Gunmen killed 24 Kashmiri Pandits on Mar 23, 2003

The memories of Nadimarg massacre are still fresh in the minds of the residents of this south Kashmir village.
Nadimarg massacre: Gunmen killed 24 Kashmiri Pandits on Mar 23, 2003
File Photo

The memories of Nadimarg massacre are still fresh in the minds of the residents of this south Kashmir village. The Muslim community members living in this village still remember how mercilessly 24 Kashmiri Pandits were shot dead by the unidentified gunmen on March 23, 2003. 

"We heard cries and later heavy firing. It was followed by silence everywhere," recalled a local resident, Ghulam Muhammad. 

"The killers had dragged our Pandit brethren out of their homes, and killed them mercilessly. They did not even spare the children and killed everyone they saw," he added. 

"When we ventured out what we saw was very shocking. Most Pandits were dead lying in pool of blood. It was heart breaking moment for us. Only a few Pandits who survived could be seen in deep shock sitting near the bodies," locals said, adding, "We were living in peace, harmony and we used to stand by each other."

"The entire village was in total mourning for months after the massacre and Pandits migration from the area," locals said.

Fear stricken Pandits left the village next day after the massacre and are now residing in different states across India. "We left Kashmir after the Nadimarg massacre. We were 40 members comprising eleven families but half of us were killed. There was no way left for us other than to leave Kashmir," said, Sanjay, one of the survivors who now resides in Jammu.

"The government never took us seriously. Even after the massacre no attempt was made to identify the culprits. Nor was the case investigated," Sanjay added. 

 THE INCIDENT

On March 23, 2003, unidentified gunmen wearing combat dresses barged into the houses of Kashmiri Pandits at Nadimarg village and killed twenty four persons, including eleven women, eleven men and two children. The deceased included a 70-year old man and a 2 year old baby. The incident happened in Shopian district (then Pulwama), only 7 kms from Bijbehara, the home town of the then State Chief Minister, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.

Eye witnesses had informed the media that a group of heavily armed gunmen, dressed in army uniform barged into the houses at about 10.30 PM, when the victims were going to sleep. "They knocked at the doors of Kashmiri Pandit houses. They asked them to assemble in a compound near the picket under a Chinar tree and fired indiscriminately upon all of them, killing twenty four persons on the spot" the witnesses had said.

The deceased were identified as Bansi Lal 70, S/o Daya Ram, Rajni 22, D/o Bansi Lal, Lok Nath 40 S/o Kanth Ram, Radhakrishan 60, S/o Kanth Ram, Pradhiman Krishan 25, S/o Radhakrishan, Geeta 40, W/o Radha Krishan, Ramesh Pandit, Lassa Koul 70, S/o Govind Ram, Triloki Nath 55, Manohar Nath Pandit, Sangeeta 30, W/o Manohar Nath Pandit, Suraj Kumar 3, S/o Manohar Nath Pandit 12, Suman 30, W/o Satish Kumar Pandit, Monu Raj 2, S/o Satish Kumar, Chand Rani 40, W/o Chuni Lal, Jiya Lal Bhat 80, Devki 75, W/o Jiya Lal Bhat, Sushma 26, D/o Jiya Lal, Avtar Krishan 55, S/o Jiya Lal, Girja Kumari 23 D/o Bansi Lal, Princy 27, D/o Bansi Lal, Rakesh Kumar 22, S/o Jiya Lal, Bansi Lal 50, S/o Jiya Lal, Umat Kumar, 20, S/o Avtar Krishan, Ashajee Bindri 40, W/o Bansi Lal.

Only fifteen people among the Pandit community residing there survived the massacre. The government after the incident had assured the survivors of all possible help and security but they left Kashmir within 2-days after witnessing the mayhem.

Greater Kashmir
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