Srinagar: The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has directed the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Srinagar to file a report with respect to Gawkadal Massacre, 1990, by January 28, 2019, or else remain present in person before the commission and explain the delay in filing the report.
The commission passed the direction after it was noted that despite several directions, SSP Srinagar had not filed the report.
On January 21, 1990, as word about nocturnal arrests and alleged molestation in Chotta Bazaar locality spread across Srinagar city, thousands of people came out on the streets to hold protests. Processions marched through almost every part of the city and a major one was reported from Rajbagh and Radio Colony localities in Srinagar. Eyewitnesses say the protesters defied the curfew and marched through the city. The protesters were on the way to Chotta Bazar. As the peaceful protesters reached Gawkadal, they were fired upon, resulting in death of 50 persons and injuries to dozens.
“It has been 28 years now but the government has neither prosecuted any official involved in the massacre nor has any credible investigation been carried out into the case,” the petitioner before the SHRC stated.
A police report submitted earlier before the commission on this matter said that kin of six deceased persons have been granted relief, out of the 22 persons who lost their lives, the kin of the rest being “untraced”.
The police details received by the SHRC from Police Station Kralkhud stated that 22 people were killed and 12 were injured in what is known as the Gawkadal Massacre of 1990. The police reply stated that only six families were traced whose relatives were killed in that incident, while the rest 16 families remained untraced as they had “perhaps changed their residence as more than 25 years have passed since then”.
The police reply also stated that records were not available as to whether any relief was provided to any of the 12 injured persons.
Petitioner Ahsan Untoo told Kashmir Reader he has now requested the SHRC to direct fresh efforts from the police and government to locate the remaining families. “The administration seems to be callous in claiming that the rest 16 families could not be traced,” he said. “This is total injustice with the families who were denied relief. How come is it possible that the families have remained untraced?”
Untoo also castigated the state for not punishing the BSF men who resorted to indiscriminate firing on peaceful protesters at Gawkadal in January 1990. “It’s an irony that BSF men involved in the massacre were identified and yet are roaming scot free,” he said but added that he is hopeful “police will come up with names of those personnel involved in the massacre in their fresh report.”