Sopore: When 55 people were massacred in Srinagar on January 21, it remained calm for the three days as army troops took up heavily fortified positions around the city and militants urged citizens to stay indoors. However, in north Kashmir’s Handwara town, people marched towards the main chowk to protest against the civilian killings in the summer capital Srinagar.
When the procession crossed Handwara Police Station, troopers coming from opposite side jumped out from their vehicles and without any warning turned their barrels at the people and fired indiscriminately. After three hours of carnage, 21 people were found dead and 75 civilians were injured, recalls Ghulam Rasool.
28 years have gone by, Gulam Rasool, a survivor, has not forgotten the ‘brutality’ with which the Border Security forces emptied their magazines on the civilians.
“I along with around thousands of people were heading toward Handwara Chowk. When the procession crossed Handwara Police Station, troopers coming from opposite side jumped from their vehicles and without any warning turned their barrels at us and fired indiscriminately,” says Rasool.
“Suddenly people hit by bullets were falling in front of me. Some of them died on the spot. Many others were critically injured.”
Another survivor Nazir Ahmad says that the BSF troopers continued indiscriminate firing on people for three hours. Hundreds of troopers cornered the demonstrators from every side and continued to fire bullets till no one was left standing in the Chowk.
“The BSF troopers had gone berserk. Doomsday cannot be worse than what I witnessed that day. Within minutes bodies were piling on streets and blood was scattered everywhere, and I escaped miraculously in the indiscriminate firing, BSF men didn’t allow us initially to remove the injured to the Hospital,” another survivor, Habibullah Khan said.
Pertinently, police filed an F.I.R vide no. 10/1990 at police station Handwara, under sections 307,151,53,336,427,435,436,448,449-A.
However, the government is yet to take any action on the BSF troopers.
“Instead of allowing us to construct a memorial where the carnage took place, forces constructed a bunker there to add insult to our injuries.” Their memorial should be built in the main Chowk so that our future generations don’t forget the history,” a local, wishing anonymity, said.