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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Srinagar remembers Gaw Kadal victims, observes shutdown

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Srinagar, January 21, 2013
First Published: 20:17 IST(21/1/2013) | Last Updated: 20:19 IST(21/1/2013)

A shutdown was observed in Srinagar's commercial areas in and around Gaw Kadal on Monday to remember around 50 civilians killed 23 years ago in "paramilitary firing" on a procession.

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Several family members of the victims and separatist leaders marched towards the Gaw Kadal bridge on Monday to remember those killed in the massacre.

"It was on January 21, 1990, that people of Kashmir started a peaceful struggle to liberate Kashmir at Gaw Kadal. However, security forces killed around 50 civilians, turning the aspirations into a mass movement," said Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chief Yasin Malik.

All shops and business establishments were closed on Monday following a shutdown call issued by separatist leader Hilal War and hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah.

The victims' family, who seek justice in the case, said the day still haunted them. "It was a peaceful procession. Suddenly, security forces started firing. They emptied their magazines on my father's (Farooq Ahmad Sheikh) chest. He bore 32 bullet wounds on his chest," said Uzma, who was then five year old.

Eyewitnesses, who escaped death like Farooq Ahmad Wani, an engineer, said shrieks and the picture of bridge strewn with bodies continue to haunt him.

The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) on December 26, 2012 ordered a fresh inquiry into a massacre, which will be conducted by the superintendent of police of the police investigation wing of the commission.

The human rights groups, International Forum for Justice and Human Rights Forum (J&K), on May 1, 2012 filed a petition before the SHRC seeking justice for the victim families.

For the past 22 years, the government has neither prosecuted any official involved in this gruesome massacre nor has it allowed any credible investigation," said the petition.

The petition alleged that the police had filed an FIR in the Kral Khud Police station under FIR no. 3/90 against the protestors instead, claiming they attacked the police and CRPF personnel.

One of the accused in this case, ex-deputy inspector general Allah Baksh, who expired recently, never faced any inquiry, alleged the rights activist.


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