SRINAGAR: International Forum for Justice and Human Rights (IFJHRJK) Saturday released a report about 1994 Kupwara massacre here.
The report stated that at least 27 people were killed on this day in 1994 in Kupwara town and still justice is eluding victims as state police has closed this case as ‘untraced’.
The report was released by International Forum for Justice Chairman Muhammad Ahsan Untoo. Besides Shakeel Qalandar, Abdul Majid Zargar, Shabir Ahmed Dar, Muhammad Iqbal Mir, Sajad Gul and Nisar Shahdad were also present on the release of the report.
While speaking on the atrocities committed by security forces on common people of Kashmir, Ahsan Untoo and Shakeel Qalandar urged upon Government of India to bring culprits to justice. They said, “Those who are involved in the massacre have become the opinion makers on Indian news channels.”
“The innocent people were put to death for observing shutdown on India’s Republic Day. Till date no culprit has been booked. The irony is that even the then Deputy Commissioner Kupwara was summoned to Army headquarters and pressurized,” Untoo said.
The protesters were carrying a huge banner displaying the photographs of former Jammu Kashmir Governor Jagmohan and retired army officer.
What happened on 27 January, 1994?
On the eve of India’s Republic Day in 1994, a warning from Indian troopers not to observe shutdown on January 26, the people as usual remained indoors and observed India’s Republic Day as ‘Black Day’, but the next day, in retaliation, troopers from 31 Medium Regiment gunned down 27 innocent people including three policemen in Kupwara market. The massacre took place on January 27, 1994.
After the massacre an FIR no.19/1994 under section 302, 307 lodged in Police Station Kupwara reads that, ““in a criminal assault, the soldiers of 31 Medium Regiment who were on road opening party duty led by Field Officer S. Bakshi gunned down scores of people in indiscriminate firing in Kupwara market and its vicinity without any provocation.”
Case closed, Victim’s families still wait for justice
The investigation of the case was closed as ‘un-traced’ on 10 April 1997 on the basis of “non-cooperation of army authorities”.
A petition was filed by Ahsan Untoo, the chairperson of the International Forum for Justice and Human Rights wherein state run human rights commission had asked the authorities to submit a report about the massacre.
The police investigative agency had sought response from the army, which issued a letter stating that a Court of Inquiry had been constituted to probe the incident. But the outcome of the Court of Inquiry was not furnished to the police.
Also, the CID report reads that on 24 September 2004, the police reopened the case and then additional SP was tasked with the inquiry but despite repeated requests the army did not provide the requisite information.
However, the army services corps’ 31 medical regiment had said that no documents regarding the case were lying with it and asked the CID to approach the 28 Infantry Division.
A letter was written to the 28 infantry division on 28 May 2005 for information regarding the case but till date the said unit has furnished nothing even after repeated reminders.
Another notice under section 25 of the Police Act was served to JDS Bakshi, asking him to appear before the investigation officer on 27 February 2010 but he didn’t turn up.
In a rejoinder filed by Untoo on 11 May 2012, Inspector General of police (CID) submitted a report to the Director General of police, J&K wherein he stated that the forces deployed in Kupwara under the command of 2nd lieutenant S Bakshi had indiscriminately fired at Bus Stand Kupwara without any provocation, killing several persons besides injuring many.
The report further reads that as per the statements recorded under section 161 of CrPC and evidence, the National Crime Agency (NCA) personnel deployed for Road Opening Party (ROP) duties in Kupwara town were responsible for the massacre.
The State Human Rights Commission had also asked the union ministry of home affairs to persuade the ministry of defence to cooperate with the police in the investigation. The home ministry had referred the case to the defence ministry but no progress was made.