Monday, June 28, 2010


Out Of 12, 9 Fell To CRPF Bullets
Courtesy: Daily Greater Kashmir dated June 29th, 2010 by ARIF SHAFI WANI
Srinagar, June 28: In a dangerous pattern, 12 persons, mostly teenagers, were killed since January this year in disproportionate use of force mainly by paramilitary CRPF troopers while maintaining “law and order.”
Out of 12, the CRPF have killed 9 persons in indiscriminate firing while quelling protests. Two teenagers died after being hit by teargas canisters fired by police while another was killed in firing by the Border Security Force personnel. Incidentally, June turned out to be bloodiest with 8 killings registered till now.
While the State Government has asked New Delhi to reign in the CRPF troopers operating in the Valley, there is no end to the killings with two of them taking place today.
The killing spree this year started on January 8 with the death of 16-year old Inayat Khan of Dalgate in unprovoked firing by CRPF at Budshah Chowk. The killing had evoked widespread protests across the city. The Government responded by just expressing sorrow over the killing and extending monetary relief to the affected family.
On January 31, Wamiq Farooq, 13, of Rainawari was killed after a teargas shell fired by police hit his head. After massive protests for days together, Police claimed to have suspended the Assistant Sub-Inspector. However, when Wamiq’s family demanded action against the accused, police even denied them the FIR copy. The hapless family got the FIR copy on intervention of the Court. The family was shocked when the police described Wamiq as a ‘miscreant.’ The case is going on in the Court.
As the Valley was yet to recover from Wamiq’s killing, Zahid Farooq, 16, of Nishat was killed when BSF personnel opened unprovoked firing on him at Kralsangri. Incidentally, the BSF had initially denied their involvement in the incident. It was only after the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah took up the issue with the Home Minister P. Chidambaram that the BSF extended cooperation in the investigation.
For the first time in the past two years, the BSF admitted that its personnel including a Commandant RK Birdi and constable Lakhvinder were involved in the incident and handed them over to police. The duo is facing trial. However the BSF has filed an application seeking transfer of case to its Court.
A week later, 17 year old Zubair Ahmad Bhat was killed when CRPF while dispersing the protesters, allegedly forced him to jump in a river and continued to pelt stones on him till he breathed his last. Police closed the case terming it as a case of drowning.
Since past 17 days, eight persons were killed. On June 11, 17 year-old Tufail Ahmad Matoo was killed after a teargas canister fired by police hit his head at Rajouri Kadal. Police had earlier maintained that it had not fired a single bullet or tear smoke shell in the area on the fateful day.
However Tufail’s autopsy report confirmed that he was killed by a teargas shell which had damaged his brain and skull. Police ordered an inquiry into the killing but its findings are yet to be made public. Tufail’s father, Muhammad Ashraf, has accused the government of failing to arrest the accused despite their identification.
To protest against Tufail’s killing, hundreds of people took to streets in Old City. While dispersing the protesters, the troopers of CRPF caught hold of a pedestrian, Muhammad Rafique Bangroo, 24, thrashing him severely. After battling for life for a week, Bangroo breathed his last at SKIMS.
On June 20, the day of Bangroo’s funeral, the troopers opened indiscriminate fire on the protesters who had allegedly attacked a bunker at Noorbagh. In the incident, Bangroo’s relative, Javid Ahmad Malla, died due to bullet injuries on the spot.
Malla’s killing triggered violent protests across the city forcing the authorities to clamp curfew for four days. CM Omar Abdullah responded by directing the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Naseema Lanker, to probe the killing and submit a report within a week. However the report is yet to be made public.
On June 25, two youth Shakeel Ahmad Ganai, 24, and Firdous Ahmad Kakroo, 20, were killed when CRPF troopers fired upon a procession demanding bodies of two militants killed in Sopur. The Government has ordered a judicial inquiry headed by the chairperson of State Human Rights Commission, Justice Bashir-ud-Din. The terms of reference for the Judicial Commission include ‘to ascertain the causes of death of the two youth, to determine the persons responsible for these deaths and fix responsibility for use of excessive force, if any.’
Following violent protests against the killing, the authorities imposed curfew in Sopur and its adjoining areas. However, on June 27 evening, a small group of protesters defied the restrictions demanding stern punishment against the accused troopers. The troopers fired on the protesters killing Bilal Ahmed Wani, 23, of Kralte Sopur.
Registering his protest against Bilal’s killing, the Law Minister and senior National Conference leader, Ali Muhammad Sagar, during a press conference accused the CRPF of defying CM’s orders and killing civilians.
Sagar described the firing by CRPF as unwarranted, saying some 20 youth had gathered in Sopur town and there was no justification to open fire on them.
Not taking lessons from the previous killings or the State’s Government’s snub, the CRPF troopers continued with their killing spree killing a youth and a nine year old boy during protests on Monday.
Tufail Ahmed Rather, 9, was killed when CRPF opened fire on protesters at Delina Varmul Monday afternoon. Twenty-one year old Tajamul Bashir Bhat died in a similar way in Sopur.

On January 24, massive protests rocked south Kashmir against the killing of a native, Mushtaq Ahmad Mir of Kalmpora village. The locals accused the Army and Special Operations Group of using the deceased as a human shield during an encounter.
On February 13, Army claimed to have killed “oldest” militant in Pahaldagi village in Handwara in north Kashmir. However the deceased turned out to be a beggar. Police registered a murder case against Army and exhumed the body for identification.
On April 24, Army killed Ghulam Muhammad Kalas, when he along with two horses was returning home from nearby forests after collecting timber. In its defense, Army said it presumed the deceased as a militant as he did not stop despite warnings. After protests, police registered a murder case against Army. The deceased was father of eight children.
On April 29, three civilians of Rafiabad identified as Muhammad Shafi, Shehzad Ahmad and Riyaz Ahmad were killed in a fake encounter by Army in Machil and labeled as militants. After exhumation and identification of the bodies, the three persons including a trooper of Territorial Army were arrested. Though police identified the main accused Major, however he is yet to be arrested.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Protests Against Tufail’s Killing Continue Amid Undeclared Curfew
Courtesty: Daily Greater Kashmir dated June 14th, 2010 by GOWHAR BHAT
Srinagar, June 13: Srinagar observed a complete shutdown amidst undeclared curfew in old city for the second consecutive day Sunday against the killing of 17-year old Tufail Ahmed Matoo in police action in Rajouri Kadal on Friday. Youth defied restrictions at many places and fought pitched battles with police and paramilitary CRPF troopers. In the day-long clashes at least 15 persons were wounded.
Authorities imposed undeclared curfew in the volatile old city areas falling under police stations Khanyar, Rainawari, Nowhatta, Maharajgunj and Safa Kadal. Despite restrictions and heavy deployment of police, youth took to the streets in several parts of the old city and staged pro-freedom demonstrations.
Police resorted to baton charge and fired numerous tear smoke shells to disperse the protesters who offered stiff resistance and retaliated with stones triggering clashes that continued till late in the evening.
Uptown areas, including the city centre, Lal Chowk, observed a complete shutdown while protests erupted in Bemina, Tengpora, Batamaloo, and other civil line areas.
Youth protested the killing and barricaded the roads by placing boulders and burning tyres. At several junctions in Bemina and Batamaloo, police tried to chase away protesters but they repeatedly regrouped and pelted stones on policemen.
Meanwhile the condition of SafaKadal youth, Muhammad Rafiq Bangroo, who was allegedly beaten by paramilitary CRPF troopers near his residence on Saturday, continued to be critical.
“His condition is certainly not improving. We are going to operate on him today,” doctors attending him told Greater Kashmir.
Bangroo, they said, had sustained severe head injuries and had multiple contusions in his brain.
The city roads wore a deserted look. Shops and business establishments remained closed while traffic was off the roads.
CRPF men go berserk
Residents of several city areas on Sunday accused paramilitary CRPF troopers of going berserk and beating up civilians without any provocation.
“At Rainawari, police and CRPF men roughed up a group of youth who were playing on a roadside, injuring three of them,” witnesses said.
Residents from Nawa Kadal, Safa Kadal and Batamaloo localities alleged that CRPF men beat them up without any provocation. “They also pelted stones on residential houses and smashed window panes,” residents of Tarabal told Greater Kashmir over phone.
The troopers also damaged cars and buses parked on the roadsides in the area.
The inhabitants of Rainawari and Saidakadal said that police and CRPF were not allowing them come out of their homes.
Witnesses said police barred friends and relatives from visiting the family of Tufail at Saidakadal

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Flashback Chota Bazar- June 11th, 1991: 32 civilians massacred by Indian security forces

Syed Mansoor-Chota Bazaar massacre
that shook Valley 18 years ago
Courtesy: Daily Kashmir Times dated June 11th, 2009 by Asifa Amin Koul
SRINAGAR, Jun 10: The memories of "Syed Mansoor-Chota Bazaar mayhem" perpetrated by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel 18 years ago still causes a deep stir inside the hearts of the scores of bereaved families whose kiths and kins were killed in the "blood-curdling" incident.
It was Tuesday evening of June 11, 1991-when a nine-member CRPF posse came charging from their camp at Syed Mansoor Bridge towards the Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar around 6:15 pm and opened indiscriminate firing with their automatic weapons all the way upto the densely populated downtown area of Srinagar, Chota Bazaar.
The indiscriminate firing by the security personnel took a massive toll of 32 lives of innocent civilians. Around 22 persons were also critically injured in the incident. The bullets hit shopkeepers, passerby, a 75-year old woman and a child. However, the official reports confirmed killings of 18 civilians and six injured persons.
It is believed that the reprehensible act was a catharsis to "avenge" the killing of a CRPF jawan namely Abdul Majid of Azamgarh by some unidentified militants on the same fateful day at Zainakadal Srinagar at about 3 PM. However, there was no confirmation of the killing of the CRPF jawan by the officials. (The Kashmir Times, dated June 12, 1991)
This was perhaps the most tragic incident of its kind since May 21, 1990 when mourners carrying the body of the assassinated Mirwaiz Farooq, Awami Action Committee founder-leader and father of Hurriyat Conference (M), Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, were fired upon near Islamia College Srinagar, allegedly on a fire provocation by the militants, leaving 70 unarmed civilians dead.
Eyewitnesses of the horrendous incident said that while forcing their way into the provision store in front of the hospital, the CRPF jawans dragged people out and opened fire on them. One of the victims included a doctor of the opthomology department of SMHS hospital Srinagar who was shot in his throat despite pleading for his life while showing his identity card to the CRPF troops.
An employee of the medical college and an eyewitness to the incident had this to say: "Our store keeper Ghulam Mohammad was dragged out and shot on the road. I locked myself in the bathroom and saved my life. Besides three shots, I heard Ghulam Mohammad's cry." (The Kashmir Times, June 13, 1991)
The security forces, according to the eye witnesses, stopped four auto-rickshaws near National School, Karan Nagar Srinagar and killed their drivers as well as passengers who included 75-year old wife of one Ghulam Hussan Khan of Chota Bazaar and brothers, Mohammed Syed Baihaqi and Meerak Baihaqi.
This was unfortunately the second bereavement in seven months for the Baihaqi family of Zaldagar Srinagar as Sayeed Ahmad Baihaqi, the grand son of Mohammad Syed Baihaqi, 80, was killed outside his house by security forces on November 1, 1990 following an attack on the latter by unidentified militants.
The security personnel then entered a mechanical workshop opposite National School, Karan Nagar and killed the workshop owner, Abdul Rashid. Three employees of the workshop also fell to the bullets.
While recollecting the 18-year old tragic incident, a junior mechanic at the workshop who shares a deep anguish of the terrible mayhem, said, "Three CRPF men entered our shop and shouted 'Bhoon Daalo Sab Ko' (Kill them all!). Ignoring my master's pleas, they started firing. I saw my master dying in a pool of blood in front of me". I saw my master dying in a pool of blood in front of me... The CRPF men went out of the shop but returned a few moments later, shouting 'Koi Bacha To Nahien Hai?' (If anybody is alive?)," adding that more than 10 dead bodies were lying in pool of blood outside the shop.
According to the reports published in The Kashmir Times next day, the entire area from where 17 bodies were picked and brought to the police control room by 8 pm bore blood stains. At the police control room where the dead bodies were brought, over 1000 grieving persons gathered to ascertain the identity of the deceased. Slogans were raised against the authorities of the control room who had mounted guard against the bereaved people looking for their deceased relatives.
Whereas the then intelligence chief, Amar Kapoor and other senior officials who visited the spot were unable to explain the sequence of events, the then Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Srinagar, A L Khan, while admitting that all those killed were civilians told the Kashmir Times on the fateful day that a criminal case had been registered against the CRPF under Section 302 with the Karan Nagar police.
However, according to the then divisional commissioner, C Phounsong, security forces retaliated when they came under severe fire from the militants.
A day after the incident, the state government claimed to have ordered Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe into the Chota Bazaar firing and registered criminal cases in this connection to ensure a "fair and just inquiry." The official spokesman had further claimed that the security forces involved in the uncontrolled firing had been taken off from the duty. A separate commission headed by ex-chief justice, Mufti Jallal-ud-din was also appointed to inquire into the causes and circumstances leading to the Syed Mansoor-Chota Bazaar incident.
As a routine, the state government announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs one lakh each to the next of the kin of those killed at Syed Mansoor-Chota Bazaar. As a mark of protest against the tragic incident, shops, banks, government and semi-government establishments remained closed in the areas not coming under the purview of curfew. Transport services also remained off the roads in the entire Kashmir valley in view of the strike called by a militant outfit group, Al-Umar Mujahideen.
To pay obeisance to the deceased, hundreds of people visited the "massacre site" during the curfew relaxation period next day to the incident and placed flowers at spots from where the dead bodies of innocent persons were picked up. People from the nearby localities served food and water to the grieving visitors.
While talking to The Kashmir Times, Shakeel Bhakshi, a separatist leader opined that unless the perpetrators of the incidents like Syed-Mansoor-Chota Bazaar are not dealt with on the "war criminal" procedure, such incidents would continue to occur time and again.