Mastermind of Prankote killings gets life term
30 July 2003
The Hindustan Times
Udhampur: In the first-ever conviction in any of the massacre cases in Jammu and Kashmir, principal district and sessions judge B.L. Saraf sentenced Manzoor Ahmad to life imprisonment for his role as a guide to militants who slaughtered 26 Hindu villagers in Prankote in April 1998.The judge also imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on the convict. The accused had acted as a guide to marauders who slaughtered 26 people, including women and children, in the remote hills of Prankote and Dhakikote five years ago. That was the biggest massacre of Hindus that year.The police had arrested Manzoor for conspiring with the militants after the 1998 Parliamentary elections in the Udhampur constituency. He wanted to teach a lesson to those who had violated the poll boycott call.One of the residents of Prankote, Shoba Ram, ignoring threats of militants, had allowed polling booth to be set up in his house for the Lok Sabha elections. Manzoor tipped off the militants about the polling. Few days after the elections, the militants accompanying the accused attacked the village and killed several people.The sole survivor of the massacre, Viday Devi, whose husband and other family members were slaughtered, registered a case against Manzoor.