Shutdown marks 1994 Kupwara massacre anniversary

Shutdown marks 1994 Kupwara massacre anniversary
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Activist of Geelani’s Tehreek-e-Hurriyat arrested during a protest
Kupwara: Kupwara observed a shutdown to mark the martyrdom of 27 civilians who were massacred by the army on 27 January 1994.
Most shops and business establishments, petrol pumps and tuition centres remained closed. However, transport was plying normally.
The families of the martyrs visited the graveyard at Regipora, where they offered Fateha for the victims who had been massacred after they had refused to attend Republic Day celebrations at nearby army camp a day earlier.
Syed Mohammad Akbar, an elderly person from Kupwara town, said that soon after people resumed businesses on the morning of the fateful day, a group of soldiers led by one major Bakshi reached the main market and asked the shopkeepers to close their shops.
“He asked shopkeepers why they did not attend the Republic Day celebrations at their camp as told. And then they opened fire. Twenty-three people died the same day and the other four died over next few days,” he said.
Although Kupwara police had filed a case of murder and attempt to murder besides other charges, nobody has been brought to the book yet.
“We have been protesting every year so that we remind the world what happened to us otherwise we know the culprits will not be punished,” Akbar said.
Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani had called for a shutdown against the massacre.
While thanking Kuwpara residents for keeping their spirits up while facing “the worst at the hands of perpetrators”, he said that the swelling number of widows and orphans in Kupwara district was “heart wrenching”.
“We are duty bound to safeguard all these sacrifices,” he said, while decrying those “vested interests who are hell bent on portraying an adverse impression of the freedom struggle”.
“Pro-Indian stooges stand exposed and people revived their commitment with martyrs and freedom movement and pledged that they won`t backtrack ongoing freedom struggle,” Geelani said in a statement.
Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, a constituent of Hurriyat (G), organized a special prayer function at Jamia Kupwara in memory of Kupwara martyrs.
Acting district president Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Syed Zahoor -ul-Haq Geelani participated in the function. Later, a Hurriyat spokesman said, dozens of local youths took out a procession and shouted pro-freedom slogans.
“Procession was peaceful but police arrested (Tehreek-e-Hurriyat activist Bashir Ahmad Qureshi and took him to some unknown place,” the spokesman said.
In Sopore, a few youths pelted government forces with snowballs and stones during a clash after Friday prayers.