Saderkoot massacre accused arrested after 23 years

Saderkoot massacre accused arrested after 23 years

Bandipora: The District and Sessions Judge Bandipora on Wednesday sent one of the accused in the Saderkoot Bala massacre case to judicial custody after he was produced by police before the court today. The accused was arrested on Tuesday after “evading arrest” for 23 years.
Police said they had arrested the accused, Wali Mohammad, from Barwala Kangan in district Ganderbal after “strenuous efforts followed by a tip-off” which led to his arrest.
A police official said that the accused has been sent to judicial custody in Kupwara Jail and the judge has directed that the accused be produced before the court on May 11.
A police statement said that the absconder Wali Mohamad Mir was “evading arrest for 23 years and was nabbed after strenuous efforts launched by the Bandipora police.”
The statement added that the police acted on a tip-off about the presence of the accused at a specified location. The police action took place under the directions of SSP Bandipora Rahul Malik.
“A police party of PS Sumbal led by SHO PS Sumbal under the supervision of SDPO Sumbal arrested the person, namely Wali Mohammad Mir S/o Mohammad Maqsood Mir R/o Saderkoot Bala Bandipora,” the police statement said, adding, “He was involved in case of FIR no. 125/1996 u/s 302, 307, 325, 341 RPC 7/27 arms Act of P/S Sumbal.”
On October 5, 1996, the dreaded counterinsurgency group, Ikhwan, had barged into the homes of Saderkoot residents, among which was Ghulam Qadir’s, eyewitnesses in the case said. The Ikhwan group, which had turned into the political party Awami League, had been declared victorious in elections the previous day. Now it was out to eliminate its foes. Ghulam Qadir, who lost his wife, daughter, son, and a nephew, has been continuing with the struggle for justice since then. One of the prime accused in the case, Rashid Billa, was killed at his home in Hajin Bandipora a few years ago.
According to Qadir, “At least 30-40 Ikhwanis entered my compound at about 7:30pm, after bolting the doors of neighbouring houses. They barged in firing their rifles, and left after killing four of my family members.”
The bullets killed his wife Hajra, daughter Jawa, 18, elder son Abdul Salaam Dar, 25, and nephew Abdul Rasheed Dar, 22.
From Qadir’s house, the assailants went to another house, that of his neighbour Saif-Ud-Din Dar. He, too, had voted against Mohammad Yousuf Parray alias Kuka Parray, the chief commander of the Ikhwan. After calling him out, he was shot in the chest.
The killing spree did not end there. Two more men, Ghulam Nabi Dar and Ghulam Rasool Dar, were killed in front of their families the same evening.
Ghulam Qadir, who was hiding in the attic, had recognised Abdul Rashid Parray alias Rashid Billa, Mohammad Ayoob Dar, Wali Mohammad Mir, Nazir Ahmad Wani, Bashir Ahmad Pehlu alias Band, Nazir Ahmad Parrey alias Fauji, Bashir Ahmad Parray alias Bilal, Manzoor Ahmad Reshi, and Manzoor Ahmad Parray (a cousin of Kuka Parray), all from villages close to Saderkoot. Among the nine, seven including Billa have already died.
“Several warrants were issued by the Hon’ble court District & Sessions Judge Bandipora, but the accused hid at some unknown location till now,” police said.
Victims of the Saderkoot Massacre who escaped alive have maintained that “the accused were enjoying political and police backing”.