21 years on, victims of Bijbehara massacre await justice

SHABIR AHMAD

ANANTNAG: Twenty-one years have passed since the infamous massacre carried out by the Border security forces (BSF) in Bijbehara, killing at least 43 people and injuring over 150, the families of the deceased continue to await justice.
The gruesome incident occurred on October 22, 1993 when the BSF troopers resorted to indiscriminate firing on the people protesting peacefully against the siege if Hazratbal shrine.
The survivors even after two decades of the massacre shiver to recall the gory scene as they say it was no less than a dooms day.
Recalling the horror, Peerrzada Khursheed, a lawyer by profession said, “It wasFriday and the shutdown was being observed in the entire Valley in protest against the Hazratrbal shrine siege. After offering Friday prayers people decided to take out a peaceful march against the siege and assembled outside Jamia Masjid. It was a procession of over 12 to 15 thousand people.”
As the procession, he said, reached near Jablipora crossing after marching through the streets of the town, the BSF troopers who were already deployed in the area aimed their guns on the people without any provocation.
“The BSF personal continued to shower bullets on the peaceful protesters for around 10 minutes killing 30 persons on spot. 13 others later succumbed to injuries in different hospitals taking the toll to 43,” Peerzada told Kashmir Reader while recalling the incident vividly.
Over 150 persons, he said, were also injured with some of them suffering permanent disability.
Another resident, Riyaz Ahmad who was a part of procession, said that the BSF troopers even fired upon the ambulances and those who tried to rescue the injured.
“For about half-an-hour the BSF men did not allow any rescue. Had they allowed rescue of the inured many of them could have been saved. It was like river of the blood flowing through the market, no less than a doomsday,” Riyaz told Kashmir Reader.
“One of the youth, Bashir Ahmad Sheikh was killed while he tried to shoulder an injured. Another man who was taking his injured to hospital on his back was fired upon outside the hospital killing him on spot. However, his brother survived later after four months of hospitalisation,” he added.
Though the separate enquiries by the state government as well as the BSF itself were initiated into the massacre but the victim families continue to await justice, as both the enquiries did not reach any conclusion.
“The report of the magisterial enquiry ordered by the then government clearly indicted 13 BSF troopers including a deputy commandant for giving approval to the firing. In the report the enquiry team said that the act on part of BSF was unprovoked and out of vengeance. But none of the indicted BSF men was punished. The enquiry report only removed the 174 battalion of BSF responsible for the massacre,” said a resident who had survived the massacre.
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), he said, also passed orders of stringent action against the indicted forces but no action followed.
“After the NHRC orders 13 BSF men were charged with murder but all of them were later acquitted by the BSF court even after being identified by six witnesses,” he said.

One Response to "21 years on, victims of Bijbehara massacre await justice"

  1. Romi   October 28, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Dear Shiv,I finally took up that ivantition to vist your blog and read what you had to write about the fusillade of your former boss and now Chief Editor of Indian Express.I would have believed each and every word you wrote about how virtuous he is, after all blood flows thicker than rum and water. But alas, my views remain unchanged.For 60 years – from the 1948 incursion and Pt Nehru (may his soul rest in peace) expressed views that the Army should be disbanded, it has been one steep slope. The Committee of Secretaries took it upon themselves to over-rule Justice Srikrisha’s Pay Commission, perhaps even Smt Sushama Nath did not have the guts to tell the CoS That what they were doing was wrong.Chief Editor wrote about two war memorials – was it intentional? Was it a hint that the present Chiefs should/would be consigned to one or both or that Chief Editor would build another one for them for taking a courageous stand against the CoS? For many years there has been a strong rumour that a former PM advised his successors both NDA and UPA that they should never agree to the CDS – because he would become more powerful and one day imitate our neighbours!No, the Armed Forces are not inclined to act that way.Perhaps lessons of 1998 were not lost on the present CAS (he was an air cmde) tried to put out the fires that CAS Sareen stoked in the IAF by wanting to pay different scales of flying pay. Perhaps he shared his feelings and the ground swell with the CNS & Chairman COSC and COAS and they decided to pre-empt any public displays of resentment or worse, demonstrations by Armed Forces PBOR, even Officers.No, the Babus or the Govt cannot subdue the Armed Forces into subservience because you know what the others do to tackle violence inside India.I had a lot of respect for Shekhar Gupta. Now I am not so sure he fits into that image you painted.