Srinagar: Family members of the seven people who had been massacred in 1996 by the government-sponsored barbaric militia, Ikhwan, in Bandipora, demonstrated in Srinagar on Monday and demanded immediate arrest of the key accused, Rashid Billa.
The victims had been massacred on 5 October 1996 in Saderkoot-Bala, Bandipora, by Ikhwanis who were then under the control of the 13 Rashtriya Rifles camped in Manasbal.
An FIR no. 125/1996 was registered by police following the killings but till date no arrests have been made, although eye witnesses had identified Abdul Rashid Parray alias Rashid Billa as the man who led the killers.
The J&K High Court had passed an order on November 15, 2015 to arrest the accused.
According to the protestors, the killers led by Billa barged into the houses of victims at Bunpora village, fired at them indiscriminately, killing Abdul Rashid Dar, Abdul Salaam Dar, Ghulam Nabi Dar, Ghulam Rasool Dar, Hajira, Jawahira and Saif-udin-Dar.
Fifteen others were injured in firing. According to protestors, the Ikhwanis were furious as the villagers had voted National Conference, not the Ikhwan-backed Awami League candidate in the 1996 Assembly elections.
The protesters alleged that Billa is roaming freely and working in a government department.
Ghulam Qadir Dar, who led the protestors, said that Billa boasts his connections with top police officers and says that he won’t be arrested ever.
The protesters also burnt effigy of Billa and shouted slogans against him.
A bench of Justice Hasnain Masoodi had directed the Station House Officer of Sumbal police station to file the charge sheet by November 26, 2015.
The Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, meanwhile, said in a statement that “effectively, the accused Rashid Billa, Wali Mohammad Mir and Mohammad Ayoub Dar, must have been arrested by November 26.”
It added that the arrest of and charge-sheet against the accused and his accomplices will be the first step in the struggle for justice and accountability in this case.