February 1999 News

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Massacre of innocent people in Rajouri

23rd February 1999
By: Hashim Qureshi(Chairman: J&K Democratic Liberation Party)

Holland: Killing anybody in the name of religion is the greatest abuse of religion. This is a dastardly act of defaming that religion. The massacre of innocent men, women and children in Rajouri is a part of a deep-seated conspiracy.

Chairman of Democratic Liberation Party, Hashim Qureshi has expressed his deep shock on the dastardly massacre of Rajouri. He has said that those indulging repeatedly in such acts put even the wild boars to shame. It is a blot on the fair name of humanism. He said that he had warned the concerned at the time of Wandhama massacre that this is the beginning of Algeria type killings. We shall have to rise against these atrocities, he added.

Hashim Qureshi has also held the local government and security forces responsible in this connection. He has demanded that along with individual terrorism, state sponsored terrorism directed against the people, should also be stopped, He has warned Kashmir leadership that the subject of Kashmir's freedom should be sought in peaceful dialogue and not in the use of the gun.

"Kill me first": Shabir Shah condemns massacre of J&K Hindus

Srinagar, Press Release, 20 February: Shabir Ahmed Shah, president of the pro-independence Jammu Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party, has expressed his outrage and strongest condemnation of the killing of some 20 Jammu & Kashmir Hindus in a matter of 24 hours. He said that the suffering of his people was hurting him deeply. "If they wish to kill my countrymen, they should kill me first", Shah thundered, referring to all killings of J&K civilians by army or militants.

Shabir Shah said: "This bloody act has struck me to the core and has made me sick to even think of this barbarism. I can not express anything less than utter disgust at the evil people responsible for this bloody massacre. We have condemned it! We are condemning it! And we will continue to condemn it! The people who have carried out this act should be caught and punished severely. One thing is certain: the perpetrators of this act are foreigners in Jammu & Kashmir, enemies of the people of Jammu & Kashmir, and are not welcome in Jammu & Kashmir. They should leave our land and take away their barbarism with them!"

He said that last nights acts were those of cowardly monsters, saying that they included the attack on a village in Riasi at night killing 9 people, six of which were women, wiping out of a family of four - father, mother, and two children - in Rajouri, and attacking a marriage ceremony in Udhampur, killing seven.

Shah said that the perpetrators of these attacks clearly wish to create communal mayhem in Jammu & Kashmir, are against the indigenous independence struggle, and are carrying out a calculated and nefarious agenda to stoke the communal flames and divide J&K on the basis of hatred. He appealed to the people to not fall into this trap.

Shah remarked: "These criminals are repeating the violence of the 1947 Partition. But they should know that we Kashmiris want nothing to do with their communal mind-set. They may try to spread the fires of hatred, but fire can only catch if the material is flamable. These criminals will soon realize that Jammu & Kashmir has an ancient legacy of harmony. Jammu & Kashmir will not catch! Instead this extremism will be choked by the will and tolerance of our people."

Shah expressed his determination to continue with a people-to-people effort to achieve reconciliation between the various communities of the state and to involve all the regions of the state in the independence movement. He explained that: "Divide and rule must not succeed.I am sure that if we do not join hands with all the people of the state - our freedom will remain elusive to all of us."

Shabir Shah called upon the international community to take serious note of the violence occuring in Jammu & Kashmir. He pointed out that the common people of Jammu & Kashmir are the victims, squeezed between India and Pakistan and the hatred fueling their conflict. He appealed for human sympathy and support for the Kashmiri independence struggle which he termed a non-violent struggle for a just peace which is against communalism and all injustices.

Pall of gloom descends on Baljaralan, Khor Bani villages

Following news item is worth reading published in The Daily Excelsior, Jammu dated 2nd March 99

From: Avtar Bhat

RAJOURI, The Daily Excelsior, 28 February: A pall of gloom has descended on the tiny hamlets of Baljaralan and Khor Bani villages in this border district where 11 innocent people were gunned down by militants recently.

Stalked by the roaring of guns and bloodshed the hapless villagers blamed administration for the massacres. Not only the villagers of Baljaralan but the people of surrounding villages are terrorised by the carnage. Fearing worst some are still in trauma and shock.

The people of the entire area are so scared and terrorised that they desert their houses during night and sleep in the houses of Village Defence Committee (VDC) members. Four families belonging to minority community from nearby Peo Manala village have also migrated to Rajouri after the Baljaralan massacre.

The mass migration of the minorities from this area can not be ruled out if the elaborate security arrangements are not made. The VDC members who retaliated the militants firing during the night of February 19 are also in a fix due to Government's non seriousness to boost them.

Such is the resentment against the Government that some members of VDCs also voiced their concern over the Government's non seriousness before the Congress president Mrs Sonia Gandhi during her visit to the affected villages yesterday.

The pain and agony has stared the survivors of the massacre victims in the face and words fell short to console them.

The ill-fated people who lost their nears and dears in the carnage are wailing and sobbing. They were not knowing that attending the marriage ceremony will spell a doom for them.

However, the worst anger is against the administration who they allege has failed to take pre-emptive steps in averting the tragedy.

Ramesh Kumar a VDC member whose cousin brother has fallen a prey to militants bullets on the fateful day said the people have lost all faith in the present Government. Ramesh who had fired some shots with his gun in retaliation said that militants might have attacked other houses but flew after the fire was returned from some VDC members.

Making a dig at Government he said when it was knowing in advance about the possible strike of militants why the red alert was not sounded and the security forces deployed in the sensitive places.

He said when Bihar was placed under President’s rule for such type of killings why Central Government is calm on J&K situation. Is not the blood of people red here, he asked.

Ajay Sharma a student of Class 12th while narrating the woeful tale also held the administration responsible for the killings. He said that two injured people could have been saved had the police reached in time and shifted them to hospital.

The first officer to report among the administration was SP, Rajouri Mr Himant Lohia along with police force but by then it was too late, he sobbed.

He said the VDC members in four adjoining hamlets of Guni, Baljaralan, Pheymancyllan and Chachrol have been given 32 rifles and how can the villagers retaliate when the militants are equipped with sophisticated weapons.

Pardeep Kumar another villager who suspects the involvement of locals in the massacres said the people have no alternative except to migrate if every family was not provided with a weapon and security pickets were not established.

The people suspect that the militants have hide outs in Budhal and other adjoining forests as last year two aircraft like devices were found in Darni which is only six kilometers away from the Baljaralan.

The massacre has also left Ram Kumari in shock whose husband Sant Ram was also killed by militants.

Santu who had come from Bilaspur to this remote corner along with his wife and six children was working as a labour on brick kiln. On the fateful day he was engaged as a labour to wash the pots in marriage.

But his killing has dashed all hopes of family for survival as it has lost its only bread earner. Ram Kumari has now decided to return to her home.

Gyan Chand of village Khor Bani who lost four members of his family including parents and two young brothers is also in trauma. The family which has not yet recovered from the shock of Gyan’s wife who died two months back does not know what fate they will meet now.

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