Omar says all culprits arrested or killed
A day after a Kashmiri Pandit organisation castigated the state political leadership, both mainstream and separatist, for maintaining silence over the Wandhama massacre in which 23 Kashmiri Pandits were killed on January 25, 1998, chief minister Omar Abdullah said in a series of tweets that “all Harkat ul-Ansar militants involved in the massacre have either been arrested or killed”.
Writing on the micro-blogging site Twitter, Abdullah said, “A lot of chatter about alleged inaction following Wandahama massacre of Kashmiri Pandits. Facts are very different and counter allegation. Stay with me while I put the facts here - night of 25th Jan '98 23 Pandits killed by militants in Wandahama. Harkat ul Ansar suspected. [sic]”
Abdullah said the militants were killed in an operation launched on February 17, 1998, and subsequent operations over the next year, resulting in the closure of the case.
“17th Feb 98 security forces launch ops in Wandhama area and 6 foreign (probably Pakistani) militants killed & 1 injured. All HUA cadre. Injured HUA militant admits to being part of Wandhama massacre and names other dead ones as accomplices with name of ISI commander also. [sic]”
“Further ops over next years in Wandhama area see 6 more HUA foreigners killed & no evidence or intelligence of further involvement. As a result the case was closed. To suggest no action followed Wandhama massacre or Govt slept/ignored is NOT supported by facts,” he added.
On January 25, 1998, 23 Kashmiri Pandits, including a two-year-boy, were killed at Wandhama, Ganderbal, in central Kashmir.
President of Kashmiri Pandit Sangharash Samiti Sanjay Tickoo on Friday had alleged that not a single separatist leader “had ever proposed a call for shutdown against the massacre of Kashmiri Pandits in Wandhama in the last two decades”.
“Sixteen years have passed since the day this massacre was carried out, but nothing has been done by any camp present in the Kashmir Valley, whether mainstream or separatist, to book the culprits.
On the contrary, all cases pertaining to the Kashmiri Pandits’ killing have been closed for various reasons, which shows that racist elements are present in the administration,” he alleged.
Tickoo had asked the chief minister to come out with a statement on the massacre.
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- The kin of the deceased have been given an instant relief amount of ₹25,000 and the body has been sent for post-mortem.
- “I want the Congress party to be strong. I want the Congress to unite and fight the divisive forces," he said.