Srinagar: Twenty-two years have elapsed since Border Security Force personnel massacred more than 35 unarmed protesters (51 according to Amnesty International and human rights groups) on 22 October 1993 in Bijbehara but the perpetrators have never been tried because the government of India hasn’t sanctioned their prosecution.
Twenty-two days after the massacre, a magisterial enquiry submitted its report to the government on 13 November 1993, corroborating people’s testimony that the firing was unprovoked.
The probe report, filed before J&K high court by Inspector General of Police Kashmir, also recommended dismissal of the BSF men to be followed with initiation of criminal proceedings against them.
Eleven BSF personnel, allegedly involved in the incident, were also identified by the enquiry.
“The enquiry report was not disputed by the BSF or the police authorities….a finding was rendered, stating that the firing was carried out without any provocation,” observed a division bench of the high court headed by Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar, while upholding its single bench judgment directing the government to pay Rs 4 lakh each to the families whose kin were killed in the massacre.
A government official said that sanction for prosecution has already been sought from the government of India. However, there has been no headway till date, the officer added.
On the fateful day, a procession of about 2000 to 3000 persons, as per official account, had started a march from Jamia Masjid Bijbehara against the siege of Hazratbal shrine.
Raising slogans, the demonstrators went towards Srinagar-Jammu highway and when they reached near Goriwan, BSF personnel from 47th battalion fired upon them.
No ambulances or medical staff was allowed access to the injured persons although a hospital was only a few yards away from the site of the massacre.
Subsequently an FIR (No.90/1993) was registered under Sections 302 and 307 RPC and the investigation commenced.
National Human Rights Commission NHRC had also passed orders for stringent action against the indicted forces personnel but no action followed.