Nadimarg Massacre: Govt Says Probe Should Have Concluded; Police Indifferent

Nadimarg Massacre: Govt Says Probe Should Have Concluded; Police Indifferent

22 March 2014
Rising Kashmir
Faisul Yaseen

Srinagar: Eleven years down the line, government is still investigating a massacre in which 24 Kashmiri Pandits were killed in Nadimarg village of south Kashmir. In the intervening night of March 22 and 23, 2003, uniformed armed men killed 24 Kashmiri Pandits in Nadimarg village of Shopian district. The victims included 11 men, 11 women, and two small boys who were dragged out of their homes, lined up and shot dead with automatic weapons. When the massacre took place, policemen posted there had fled the scene. Kashmiri Pandit Sangarsh Samiti (KPSS) President, Sanjay Tickoo told Rising Kashmir that the investigation into the case was still 'inconclusive'. 'The case is in the High Court and we have been told that a Pakistani national who was involved in the killings has been arrested,' he said. 'However, we have raised a question, 'Was only one person involved and what happened to the others.' Tickoo said it was unfortunate that while both mainstream and separatist leaders were talking about massacre like Gawa Kadal, they were not vocal about Nadimarg. One of the lone Kashmir Pandits leaders, who did not flee from the Valley when guns started fluttering in early nineties, Tickoo said had separatists given a call on Nadimarg massacre, the message would have been different. 'I accept the separatists are not running the State but both the mainstream politicians and separatists leaders are involved for ignoring the massacre of the Kashmiri Pandits,' he said. 'The separatists always blame the Government of India forces for the massacres but if they have the proof they should present it to us.' He said Police was also insensitive toward Kashmir Pandits and Nadimarg massacre was an example. Tickoo said it was unfortunate that most of the Nadimarg victim families were not fighting the case. 'Ninety nine percent of these victim families have migrated to different parts of India,' he said. Citing an example of Wamiq Farooq's killing case, Tickoo said it needs courage to follow up the case and demand justice. However, he said during the past 25 years, Kashmiri Pandits, like Kashmiri Muslims, had lost faith in all the Indian agencies including the Indian judiciary, Indian police and Indian political parties. After the Nadimarg massacre, the United States and Britain had held high-level talks with New Delhi on to thwart any fresh tension they feared could arise between New Delhi and Islamabad. The then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had presided over a meeting of the Cabinet Committee of Security (CCS). Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, who was the then chief minister, had also condemned the massacre, saying it was an unpardonable crime by militants to derail the peace process initiated in Jammu and Kashmir by his coalition government. Since the Nadimarg massacre, Jammu and Kashmir has had three chief ministers, Sayeed, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Omar Abdullah. Talking to Rising Kashmir, Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, Ali Muhammad Sagar said the investigation into the Nadmarg massacre should have been concluded. 'It is a serious and a pertinent question why the probe has not been completed,' he said. 'I will have to check the latest on the investigation.' J&K Police, which has failed to conclude the investigation even after 11 years of the massacre, seems indifferent toward the case. Deputy Inspector General of Police (South Kashmir), Vijay Kumar said, 'Talk to the concerned SP.' SP Pulwama, Tejinder Singh said: 'I'm busy, and out of the station, talk to me on Monday.' Human rights activist, Khurram Parvez said the case was still under investigation and no one had claimed the responsibility for the killings. 'India-Pakistan dialogue was on at that time and some significant things were happening,' he said. 'And whenever it appears that something important is about to happen, things like targeting the minorities or fake encounter occur.' Parvez said Machil fake encounter had occurred a day after a meeting between Indian and Pakistani prime ministers in Bhutan. On April 30, 2010, Army had said it had killed three infiltrators in the Machil sector and claimed that they were Pakistani militants. Later, it came to light that the encounter in Machil was fake. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the then Pakistani PM Yousuf Raza Gilani had met in Thimpu on the sidelines of the SAARC summit in Bhutan a day before on April 29. Parvez said no one could be sure about who was behind killings like Nadimarg. 'These attacks are denounced by the majority Kashmiris including the separatists,' he said. 'There is never any acceptability against such crimes.' In 2011, a J&K Police report had said that 209 Kashmiri Pandits had been killed in Jammu and Kashmir since 1989. The Police report said chargesheets had been filed in 24 cases while killers in 115 cases remained unidentified or untraced. The 24 persons killed in Nadimarg massacre were Bansi Lal, 70, Rajni, 22, Lok Nath, 40, Radhakrishan, 60, Pradhiman Krishan, 25, Geeta, 40, Ramesh Pandit, Lassa Koul, 70, Triloki Nath, 55, Sangeeta, 30, three-year-old Suraj Kumar; Suman, 30, two-year-old Monu Raj, Chand Rani, 40, Jiya Lal Bhat, 80, Devki, 75, Sushma, 26, Avtar Krishan, 55, Girja Kumari, 23, Princy, 27, Rakesh Kumar, 22, Bansi Lal, 50, Umat Kumar, 20, and Asha, 40.