Jammu, It is often said that Kashmir’s worst days are behind it, but the painful truth about forgotten massacres in the last two decades still haunts 3.5 lakh displaced Kashmiri Hindus who left the Valley after the start of militancy in 1989-90.
While the state government has never sincerely pursued the issue of identifying and prosecuting the people involved in killing of members of the minority community, some social activists of Pandits are documenting and making renewed efforts to uncover the truth behind the killings.
The massacres left a deep scar on the generation brought up in dilapidated camps in Jammu and elsewhere in India after their exodus from their homeland. A detailed report is expected soon with an account of survivors and relatives of victims.
They are being interviewed to make a case before human rights bodies at the national and international levels. About eight major organised massacres of Kashmiri Hindus had been carried out in various parts of the Valley during the last 25 years.
Among the victims were several intellectuals, poets and lawyers, who were gunned down in the most violent manner. They included political figure Tika Lal Taploo, Justice Neel Kanth Ganjoo, poet Sarwanand Koul ‘Premi’ and his son, advocate Prem Nath Bhat and Srinagar Doordarshan Kendra Director Lassa Koul. They and hundreds of others had nothing to do with the conflict.
“We have been searching for relatives and family members of the victims and compiling documentary evidence so that we can fight for justice at the national and international levels. We have gathered proof that many involved in the killings are alive and working in government departments,” said Sanjay Tikku, president of the Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti.
In 2008, some activists had approached the State Human Rights Commission, asking it to direct the government to furnish details of investigation into massacres of Pandits. The government’s response was that security forces had eliminated the militants involved. When they demanded copies of first information reports and investigation reports to verify the truth, there was no response from the Home Department.
“Every killing was carried out after a detailed survey by overground workers to identify houses of victims. Bitta Karate is roaming free on parole. A Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front militant in 1990, he had admitted in a television interview of having killed Pandits. There are hundreds like him who should pay for their deeds,” said KN Pandita, a human rights activist.
He has been pursuing the case of displaced Kashmiri Hindus with the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva for years. Government data claims that 219 Pandits were killed by ‘unidentified gunmen’ since 1989. representative organisations of the community dispute the figure and maintains that more than 600 members have fell to bullets but no effort has been made to book the culprits.
- July 1, 1990: 4 persons killed in the Ali Kadal locality of Srinagar
- October 14, 1990: Four gunned down at Rehbab Saib in Srinagar
- June 6, 1991: Four of family shot at their house in Malpura area of downtown Srinagar
- March 21, 1997: 7 shot at Sangrampora in Budgam
- June 15, 1997: Three gunned down in bus at Gool in Udhampur
- January 26, 1998: 23 murdered at Wandhama in Srinagar
- February 5, 2000: Three killed at Telwani in Anantnag
- March 23, 2003: 24 murdered at Nadimarg in Pulwamaby
Tribune News Service