Terrorists target Kashmiri Pandits once again
JAMMU, Apr 8: On March 23 Nadimarg entered as yet another
chapter in the history of genocide of Kashmiri Pandits. In a brutal display of
savagery, the merchants of terror, waging Jehadic war moved down 24 Kashmiri
Hindus, including 11 women and two children. Nadimarg, a village 7 kms from
Bijbehara, the home town of the State Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed,
showed to the whole world how hollow were the claims of the State Government
that situation was ripe for the journey back home. Government's so called return
plan has only paved the way for yet another exodus by those who had braved the
selective killings and massacres, of their co-religionists during the past
Nadimarg, a picturesque village is located 1½ kms away
from Zainapore, the historic town founded by the benevolent king, Zain-ul-Abdin,
in the fifteenth century. The Pandits had named the king as 'Bata Shah',
(protector of Pandits) because of the protection he provided to them, after he
called them back from exile and hiding. Today the town stands witness to
intolerance. A small stream demarcates the Pandit locality from the Muslim
mohalla. In 1990, the village had 51 families . Presently there were only eleven
families with 52 members. These families belonged to the downtrodden section of
the Pandit community. Their survival depended on either class IV jobs or meagre
land they possessed. Some of these families would supplement their meagre income
by doing side jobs. At the time of the massacre, sixteen members of this
community had been out to some neighbouring village tolerance.
In the chapter of intolerance, being scripted by the
religious warriors, nearly fifteen hundred members of the minority, community
have been killed in 80 massacres in J&K. For Kashmiri Pandits, Nadimarg massacre
is fifth one, since the 'popular' govt took reins of power in 1996. Terrorists
have attacked Pandits through massacre in these districts--Budgam (March 20,
Sangrampora), Srinagar 25/26 Jan., Wandhama), Anantnag (Jan 20-Telwani, Aug.
2002 Sirigufwara). The main motive behind these massacres is to terrorise the
minorities and force them to migrate. For the last three years the incidents
involving attacks on minorities and their religious places have been occurring
with regular frequency. Incidentally, the Kashmiri Pandit exodus started in
1990, when the present Chief Minister was Union Home Minister.
Equewitnesses, who survived the carnage said a group of
4-7, heavily armed terrorists, dressed in army uniform, descended on Nadimarg
hamlet at around 10.30 PM, when the victims were going to sleep. They first went
to the police picket, set up to safeguard Pandit population of the village.
Presently, nine policemen had been posted here, while twenty constables had been
withdrawn before the assembly elections. These nine cops were supposed to look
after the protection of 55 families in a radius of 15-20 km.
At the time of the attack only five cops were present.
These poorly motivated policemen meekly surrendered their weapons, four SLRs,
three 303 Rifles, one carbine and the lone wireless set to the terrorists and
escaped from the scene. Knowing the identity of police cops, the terrorists did
not touch police. The cops even did not go to report the massacre to the nearby
Zainpora police station.
The terrorists, after looting arms and ammunition of the
policemen, went to knock at the doors of Kashmiri Pandit houses. They commanded
them to assemble in the compound near the picket under a Chinar tree. Those who
did not comply with orders had their doors broken open. Terrorists, in fact,
beat some people, who were reluctant to come out.
Phoola, who lost her husband and daughter told reporters,
"The terrorists were calling the people by name. After identifying them they
took them to the compound. They told us they were armymen, and had to search the
houses. They asked everybody to come out". While driving the residents out, the
terrorists looted cash and snatched away gold and ornaments from women. This had
not been the style of terrorists in previous massacres.
When the terrorists knocked at Phoola's house, she and
her daughter pushed Chand Ji, her son into a chimney, before opening the
door Phoola herself slipped away from the line and hid in the bushes, just
metres from the massacre site.
Soom Nath, a government servant had retired recently. He
had brought his gratuity money and other pensionary benefits to home and kept
these in the cupboard. He said terrorists were carrying torches and introduced
themselves as troops. They asked all the family members to vacate their homes
and assemble near the Chinar tree in the main compound, he added. Soom Nath was
slapped twice and asked to show other family members. His wife was taken outside
and was asked to join other Pandits under the Chinar tree. Soom Nath's son smelt
a rat and hid himself under the cot. He and his wife gave slip to the terrorists
and hid themselves behind the haystack. Though Chuni Lal's family was lucky to
escape, the terrorists looted away his cash of Rs 1.7 lakhs and other costly
items before fleeing from the scene.
After collecting the Pandits under the Chinar tree, the
terrorists began looting Pandit houses. The looted goods were put in a matador.
The Pandits thought, possibly the intention of the terrorists was to loot them
and their lives would be spared. But soon after the matador was despatched, the
terrorists opened fire in discriminately upon the hapless Pandits, killing 24
people. Chuni Lal, who had been hit in the thigh fell down and found himself in
a pile of dead bodies. As guns fell silent, the gunmen came to check for any
living. In a pool of blood, Chuni Lal held his breath and feigned death.
The killers had left and reached near the school, a few
dozen metres away, when they heard the cries of a child. Mohan Lal Bhat
recalled, "I heard one of them shout to others that there is some work still to
be done. Then I heard a gun shot. Later I got to know it was Monu". Bullets had
made sieve of his chest. Devki (75), w/o Jiya Lal was dragged upto carnage site
and her pleas of mercy were turned down. Gunwati, a 90-year old paralytic lady
asked the killers to kill her too. A terrorist told her in Kashmiri that there
was no need to kill a dead person. A 23 year old handicapped girl, who could not
walk because of her disability was dragged out, and shot dead.
Most of the victims were found with bullet holes in the
face. Survivors said many of the people were killed in cold blood from point
blank range. Almost all the bodies were found with gun shot wounds in their
Ramesh Koul, who lost his father, took great risk to
reach Zainapora police station at 1.00 AM. The police cops told him they can go
to Nadimarg only after they receive orders from above. Zainpora police party
reached Nadimarg at 4 AM, while senior officials and security forces' commanders
reached the carnage site only in the morning. Even the chief minister was
informed by DGP only at 6.30 AM.
In the carnage, the whole family of Bansi Lal (59), his
wife Bindri (55), daughter Girja (35), daughter Princy (20) and son Rakesh was
wiped out. Suraj had gone to sleep after celebrating his third birthday. His
grandfather Dwarka Nath had come on the occasion with presents from Fatehpur
village. Dwarka Nath lost his both daughters and two grandsons. Only a three
month infant who had been sleeping escaped the eyes of the killers. There were
12 survivors, who managed to hide in darkness.
A day after the massacre, it was a horrifying scene in
the village. Blood and body parts were littered everywhere. At the carnage site,
shoes, blankets and lantern were scattered. A correspondent of a leading English
daily wrote, "once a prosperous village, Nadimarg today presented a look of war
ravaged hamlet. The difference was that instead of helmets of soldiers, the
boots and the caps of the innocent civilians were scattered everywhere. The
killers had dumped the bodies on the spot as if they wanted vultures to eat
them. It was a scene that could even send a cold-hearted person to a virtual
shock. A large row of bodies, wrapped in a shroud, with blood making its way out
of the thin white coffin".
The cremation was delayed by the administration for the
arrival of the chief minister. But no politician or official of the
administration stayed back for cremation. As the bodies were being lined up for
funeral, on old Pandit who could not walk, wept bitterly at the verandah of his
house and said, "I have not lost just my family. I feel my roots have ditched
me. I will never belong to Kashmir again".
Nearly two hundred Pandits from Nadimarg and other
neighbouring villages assembled to give hostile reception to the Deputy Prime
Minister, LK Advani. They were inconsolable and accused Mufti government for not
providing security despite requests made to government. The people shouted
slogans against Mr Advani and Mr Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and attacked 'healing
touch policy'. The chief minister had to face serious embarrassment, when
Pandits named officials who were responsible for security lapse. The protestors
shouted, "we want migration...J&K Police Hai Hai. Healing Touch Hai Hai".
DGP and senior police officials were hooted down. A lone survivor of a family,
wiped out in the carnage, Mohan Lal alias Vicky, was so emotional that he
shoulted at Mr Advani and Mufti Sayeed that he too must "be shot dead". He asked
them, "what for I have to live now, kill me, please, kill me". Chandji, who
survived miraculously asked Mr Advani what they had given to the Pandit
community except for "death and destruction".
In a remorseful mood, Advani consoled the relatives of
the victims, saying, "I must admit we have not done justice to you". They asked
him if government could not protect eight thousand Pandits left in the Valley,
how could it talk of return of more than two lakh displaced members of the
community. When the Pandits demanded dismissal of Mufti government, he told them
the NDA government would use Article 356 only in extreme cases.
Security Lapse :
Why did Nadimarg massacre took place? Where were the
lapses? Mr MM Khajuria a former DPG of the state said, "The terrorists normally
leave the Pandits staying back in the Valley alone. In fact, they are considered
a 'war asset' by their foreign masters. Pawns in the hands of the merchants of
terror, these Pandits were handy for strategic butchering as and when required.
Such massacres have broadly followed a set pattern".
The former DPG also points his finger at the state
government for its casual approach. He observed, "...the plan for securing
return of Pandit migrants to Kashmir failed to address the basic and crucial
requirement of a sturdy and fool proof security cover for those already
there...The omission to conduct a comprehensive and realistic appraisal of the
ground reality while planning the 'Go Home Project' for the migrants and put in
place necessary security cover has not only made the Nadimarg tragedy possible
but also exposed the mighty Indian state to ridicule...In view of the overall
security environment, the threat perception, the known modus-operandi of the
enemy, and their established capability to mount such operations something much
more than establishment of symbolic police pickets needed to be done".
Survivors of the carnage put the whole blame on the
administration. The women folk had observed suspicious movement a week prior to
the attack. A few days before, a milkman had told Pandits to be careful. Chuni
Lal said, "we had some fears about our safety for the past two days. We went to
meet DC Anantnag on 22nd and had asked for additional security. The DC ignored
our plea...they came only after our fears came to true". The Pandits had also
met DC Pulwama, Ms Naseema Lankar but to no help. They approached two local MLAs
of CPM and also alerted their brethren in Jammu. A delegation of Panun Kashmir
had met the State Governor and Mr ID Swami. On 21st, two days before the
massacre, Panun Kashmir held a press conference and tried to impress upon the
state government that its decision was ill-conceived and could create problems
for Pandits. On the day of the massacre, a Pandit of a neighbouring village had
to visit Nadimarg for distributing marriage cards. He was advised by his Muslim
friend not to stay in the village that night and return home. How could all
these inputs be not in the knowledge of the police intelligence. Even the SHO
Zainapora had described Nadimarg as hypersensitive. A fortnight back there was a
attack on Telephone Exchange at Zainapora.
The survivors have also alleged that the terrorists were
in connivance with some cops, deployed at the police picket. They added that the
terrorists picked up and chose men and women from the inhabited houses only and
did not enter the inhabited ones. According to these Pandits a few of the
militants were Kashmiris. A delegation of Kashmiri Pandit Sabha which visited
Nadimarg did not rule out the involvement of some locals from the neighbouring
village, Yaripora. The particular village has remained a stronghold of Jamaat
Islami. A few Pandit families, which migrated from other villages said new
vested interests have emerged in Valley and they have been trying to throw them
out of the Valley.
Justice (retd.) Ghulam Ahmed Kuchay, in his capacity as
head of State Human Rights Commission, had probed Wandhama massacre. He had
stated in his six page report that Wandhama massacre may be taken as a warning
note and proper measures needed to be initiated to prevent such incidents. He
told the media, "I had given a detailed account of things and recommended
measures. But none of these were implemented".
The Pandit community and the NC President, Omar Abdullah
have also accused the chief minister of bungling the return issue. They have
charged that he had been building media-hype on the issue, without taking ground
reality into account. In a veiled criticism of state government's plan, Deputy
Prime Minister had told Rajya Sabha on March 12, "The yardstick for their return
will be safety. The Kashmiri migrants are still not convinced about their safety
in the Valley. Nobody will be pushed anywhere. ” Referring to the state
government's plan, he added that unless they (migrants) are convinced the plan
will not succeed. Taking part in the discussion, Dr Farooq Abdullah warned that
Pandits would not be safe in the Valley. He added, "I do not think conditions
are conducive enough for these people to go back. The government's plans to set
up two colonies would not solve the problem. The government had to provide
security to them. The former chief minister warned, "they will became a target
of the Al-Qaida and other movements. The fallout of any attack would be felt in
other places of the country".
In the wake of Nadimarg massacre, nearly two hundred
members of 32 families of Pandit community have migrated from such places like
Kangan, Magam, Karan Nagar, Sathu, Kulgam, Sirhama etc. The government fears if
Nadimarg survivors are allowed to go, Pandits in other villages will follow
'The massacre dented its (State Government's) image and
the migration would deepen the dent'. The district administration, whose
negligence led to massacre, had brought Nadimarg survivors back from Barsoo,
when they were on way to Jammu. Presently survivors are living as 'captives' in
Nadimarg. This has further eroded the image and credibility of PDP-led
government. Nadimarg Pandits told mediamen, "we have been held hostages in the
village as no member of the community from rest of the Valley is allowed to see
us nor are we allowed to go out". Meanwhile Pandits in other parts of the Valley
are feeling apprehensive about their safety and have demand a CBI or judicial
probe in all aspects of massacre. They have also demanded strong action against
guilty officials. The state government too is in a fix how to provide fool-proof
security to 271 hamlets of Kashmir Pandits.
Return of Pandits is a national issue. Its use for
partisan ends can only be detrimental to their ultimate return.
Victims of Nadimarg massacre, 23-3-03
1. Bansi Lal (70), S/o Daya Ram
2. Rajni (22) D/o Bansi Lal
3.Lok Nath (40) S/o Kanth Ram
4. Radhakrishan (60) S/o Kanth Ram
5. Pradhiman Krishan (25) S/o Radhakrishan
6. Geeta (40) W/o Radha Krishan
7. Ramesh Pandit
8. Lassa Koul (70) S/o Govind Ram
9. Triloki Nath (55) F/o Manohar Nath Pandit
10. Sangeeta (30) W/o Manohar Nath Pandit
11. Suraj Kumar (3) S/o Manohar Nath Pandit
12. Suman (Julie) (30), W/o Satish Kumar Pandit
13. Monu Raj (2) S/o Satish Kumar
14. Chand Rani (40) W/o Chuni Lal
15. Jiya Lal Bhat (80)
16. Devki (75) W/o Jiya Lal Bhat
17. Sushma (26) D/o Jiya Lal
18. Avtar Krishan (55) S/o Jiya Lal
19. Girja Kumari (23) D/o Bansi Lal
20. Princy (27) D/o Bansi Lal
21. Rakesh Kumar (22) S/o Jiya Lal
22. Bansi Lal (50) S/o Jiya Lal
23. Umat Kumar (20) S/o Avtar Krishan
24. Ashajee (Bindri) 40) W/o Bansi Lal
Injured: Chuni Lal
Survivors of Carnage:
1. Mohan Lal Bhat
2. Ramesh Koul
3.Chuni Lal and his son (4) Deep
5. Phoola Devi
7. Som Nath (8) his wife and (9) his son
10. 3 month old child of Satish Kumar
11. Sanjay Koul
12. Manohar Nath Pandit
13. Pran Nath Bhat
15. Bhushan Lal
Kashmiri Pandits staying in Valley at the time of
Total No. of
Families : 1535
Number of People
No. of Localities
No. of Families
No. of People
Probe Nadimarg massacre
While some of the Kashmiri Pandit families have been
persuaded not to migrate after the gory killings at Nadimarg the police have yet
to achieve any major breakthrough in identifying the killers. As has happened in
several cases of massacres and killings of other innocent persons as also the
assassination of prominent leaders in the recent past the security authorities,
which otherwise fail to prevent such strikes, blamed the Lashkar-e-Toiba and
Jaish-e-Mohammad militants for the Nadimarg massacre within hours of the
On the other hand the DIG police while claiming to have
achieved some breakthrough in the investigations refused to divulge the details.
Even in the past the police made similar claims about all the cases of killings
but eventually all such cases were closed without identifying the culprits, not
to speak of bringing them to book. In most cases of such massacres no
independent probes are ordered and in few cases where such inquiries are held
the reports, if any, are kept closely guarded secrets and no follow-up action is
taken. Such an attitude of the authorities and their failure to order
independent probes and keep every thing secret about the cases only creates
doubts about the official claims regarding the culprits. The chief minister has
alleged that Nadimarg massacre is an attempt to derail the peace process. It is
also claimed that the Nadimarg massacre was aimed at frustrating the State
government’s move to rehabilitate the Kashmiri Pandit migrants in the Valley in
different phases. For restoring the affected people’s confidence it is important
that the killer are unmasked and given stern punishment. The failure to probe
incidents and bring the culprits to book in the past has only increased the
sense of insecurity among the people.
This has also encouraged the killers to strike again and
again more brutally. In most of the cases of killings including the latest
incident at Nadimarg there has been obvious lapse on the part of the security
and intelligence agencies who failed to prevent such killings. To identify the
killers and bring them to book as also to find out the security lapses and
inefficacy of the security agencies in preventing such incidents it is necessary
that a high level and impartial probe is ordered into every such case soon after
the incident. While police may go ahead with routine investigations the
independent and impartial inquiries can help in preventing such incidents for
the future while restoring to much extent the people’s faith in the
administration in doing them justice. The killers must be unmasked and punished
in every such case if the government is keen to prevent such incidents and go
ahead with its peace process. (Editorial Kashmir Times, Jammu)
An Emotionally Turbulent Fortnight
By David Devadas
It has been
an emotionally turbulent fortnight in Kashmir. Shock and anguish at the massacre
of 24 Kashmiri Pandits overwhelmed all other sentiments but, before that,
Islamic passions were rising to fever pitch over the “shock and awe” strikes
against Iraq. If pan-Islamic militant groups were trying to whip that Islamic
sentiment farther by hitting at non-Muslims, they miscalculated terribly.
Indeed, they could not have done greater damage to their cause.
There has rarely been a more complete protest strike in
recent years than the one last week against this massacre. Kashmir’s leading
Imam, Mirwaiz Umar, declared that whoever had done it had grievously injured
The conflation of emotions in Kashmiri minds and hearts
is sometimes very difficult for others to comprehend. On the one hand, they are
deeply devoted to Islam. On the other, they warmly cherish the fusion of
cultures that they call Kashmiriyat. To understand this co-existence of
sentiments, one must realise that most Kashmiris see no contradiction in the
subtle absorption of Hindu traditions into their practice of Islam, although
these seem heretical to AhIe-hadis puritans. In fact, the ambivalent
complexity of the Kashmiri mind or perhaps it is the Kashmiri heart-has led to
confusion about what the entire militant movement is about. Such killings
naturally lead people to presume that it is basically a Hindu-Muslim problem.
That is a very limited under standing.
One must remember that Pandits were killed largely in two
phases. The first phase lasted mainly from February to August 1990 and targeted
individual Pandits or males in twos and threes. The second phase of Pandit
killings has concentrated on mowing down entire families in particular villages
and can be dated from January 26, 1998, when a massacre similar to this one
occurred at Wandhama near Ganderbal. The first series of killings, in which
about 150 Hindus were slaughtered, was often revoltingly depraved. Such
brutality can only be explained in the context of the mass hysteria I wrote
about it in my last column. Its roots probably lie in the collective memory of
Kashmiri Muslims of their gross repression over a century-and-a-half. If that is
so, that season of vicious blood letting in 1990 served as a catharsis. The
Kashmiri Muslim went back by autumn that year to rediscovering his composite
culture. Of course, that rediscovery was facilitated by the economic spin-offs
of the mass migration of Pandits that those murders caused. Muslim school
teachers, university professors, consultants at the most prestigious hospitals,
wannabe journalists and civil servants in every department suddenly had
unexpected avenues for promotion. For, though Pandit domination of government
jobs had been gradually declining for 40 years, their learning, diligence and
kinship network still left them with a strong grip over several professions.
Since the Pandits who remained beyond the summer of 1990
were mainly poor peasants who lacked the tools to build a new life out side the
valley, the community ceased to be economically competitive. So it was easy for
Muslims to bask once more in the comforting glow of composite culture. Many
Muslims continued to want independence but now wished for the remaining
minorities to go with them.
By the late l990s, the militancy had been largely taken
over by jehadi warriors from Pakistan, churned out from the sprawling
Dawat-ul-Irshad campus at Muridke or madarsas affiliated to the
Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam (which also spawned the Taliban) or to Pakistan’s
Jamaat-e-Islami. This type of warrior had no feel for Kashmir’s freedom
struggle. They were steeped in doctrinaire sermons invoking Islamic resurgence
on a global scale, before which national boundaries would crumble.
To these zealots, Kashmir was Islamic territory and
putting its kafir Hindus to death would earn them a place in heaven
beside the Ghazis of yore. They could not understand why Kashmiri Muslims
got so upset at the deaths of their Hindu compatriots. It is ironic that these
jihadi warriors killed Abdul Majid Dar, former Operational Commander of
Hizb-ul Mujahideen, a day before they slaughtered Hindus just last week.
(Source: The Tribune)
The Guns Were Never Silent
By Shujaat Bukhari
The killings in Kashmir never stopped. Over 800 people died in the cause of a free
and fair election.
And those who are on the frontline say that while
militant activity, in the form of major attacks, showed a decline in Kashmir -
until the strike in Nadimarg - after Mufti Mohammed Sayeed took over as Chief
Minister in November last, it did not mean that the militant set-up was
disturbed in any way.
As the security officials put it, the militants were
waiting and watching how the situation in the Valley developed after the new
Government assumed power.
But elsewhere in the State, particularly the Jammu
region, major attacks continued to take place. Even in Kashmir, targeted
killings of individuals never stopped - the daily toll in ones and twos kept the
death count mounting. But there was a fall in spectacular fidayeen
The figures of fatalities in militancy-related incidents
in the five months beginning November 2, 2002, seem to bolster this view of a
continued high level of attrition.
The number of deaths was about 850, which included 263
civilians, 130 security and police personnel and 450 militants. And among the
killed were Abdul Aziz Mir, the first member of the newly-elected Legislative
Assembly from Pampore, and the former chief commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen,
Abdul Majid Dar. What is noticeable and commented on is the rise in militant
activity in the rural areas and in the number of foreigners involved.
Official sources confirm that in the Kashmir Valley
alone, there are as many as 4,000 militants, as infiltration from across the
border never stopped. Not even during the unprecedented troops mobilisation
along the International Border with Pakistan, after the December 13 Parliament
attack. And as always, the number will go up in summer as the Chief of Army
Staff, Gen. N. C. Vij, confirmed in Srinagar recently: “It will increase after
the passes open.”(Source: The Hindu)
What Do The Survivors Say
Chuni Lal (60) - "When I heard a knock, I opened the door
and saw some gunmen asking us to come out for searches being conducted to flush
out the militants. They were wearing Army uniforms and spoke Urdu and Kashmiri.
Later all of us were asked to assemble outside the police post and the
indiscriminate firing started. When one of them said he (Chuni Lal) is still
alive I pretended to be dead and thus survived".
Deep, son of Chuni Lal - "We had approached the Deputy
Commissioner, Anantnag, on Saturday (22 March) and told him that we had some
apprehensions and asked for security to be strengthened. But he refused to
Bhushan Lal - “The security was insufficient. They (the
police) surrendered their weapons and were nothing but lame ducks".
Som Nath - “The gunmen, dressed in army uniforms were
carrying torches and introduced themselves as troops. They asked all the family
members to vacate their homes and assemble near the Chinar tree in the main
compound. They slapped me twice and asked me to show them other family members.
We were only three people putting up in the house at that time. They took my
wife outside and ordered her to join other people in the compound. My son smelt
a rat and hid himself under the cot. I and my wife were asked to join the other
people. But we gave them a slip and hid ourselves behind the haystack. The armed
men then searched the whole house and broke open all the cupboards. They also
took away cash of Rs 1.7 lakhs and other costly items before fleeing from the
Phoola - “The gun men were speaking pure Kashmiri. I heard
one of them call a resident of this village by name. They told us that they were armymen and had to search the houses. They asked everybody to come out. I came
out with my husband and daughter. But when they asked us to line up infront of
the police picket, I slipped away towards the bushes. Within seconds, they
started firing indiscriminately. And when they (the gunmen) left the village, I
looked for my family. My husband and daughter were lying dead but my son Chandji
had also escaped. He had hidden inside the house".
Mohan Lal Bhat (19) - "I was about to go to sleep when
there was a knock at the door. My mother opened the door and there were three
men wearing army uniforms, helmets and "bullet proof" vests. Two of them were
bearded and they asked everybody to come out. One of them spoke in Kashmiri,
which roused suspicion and when my father tried to resist, they dragged him out.
Then they dragged out my mother, sister and uncle. I heard the commotion on the
door and hid behind a tin sheet upstairs. Within fifteen minutes I heard gun
shots and wails. They had left and reached near the school (a few dozen metres
away) when they heard the cries of a child. I heard one of them shout to others
that there is some work still to be done. Then I heard a gun shot. Later I got
to know it was two year old Monu”.
Sanjay Koul - "We are in a dilemma that why were our people
killed so ruthlessly. We requested the authorities several times that the
security was not adequate and demanded more security, but they never heard us.
Now, the result is in front of us. Our families have been eliminated.
Pran Nath Bhat (38) - We stayed back in 1990 after they
(local Muslims) pleaded with us not to go, assuring us that we would be safe.
But after this tragedy, they (local Muslims) want us to leave because even they
don't feel safe here anymore".
Chand Kumar Bhat S/o Bansi Lal - "These people (Rashtriya
Rifles men) were just 3 km away from here but took six hours to arrive after the
killers left. Now they want us to stay back. How can we feel safe here? The
government has said that if migrate, no aid will be given. We tell them we don't
need you, we can take care of ourselves" END
Nadimarg Massacre - Global Reactions
George Bush, U.S. President - "The President strongly
condemns the cowardly attack that left 24 innocent men, women and children dead
in Shopian in J&K on March 23. The attack underscores the importance of the war
on terror and strengthens our resolve to work with friends and allies to fight
terrorism at home and abroad".
Robert Blackwell, U.S. Ambassador in New Delhi - "The U.S.
condemns the ghastly murders of innocent men, women and children at Nadimarg
village in J&K. The global war on terrorism will not be won until such
atrocities end against all countries. We look forward to the terrorists being
brought swiftly to justice".
Jack Straw, British Foreign Secretary - "These killings
underline the need for continued action to eliminate the scourage of terrorism".
Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General - "The UN Secretary
General condemns in the strongest possible terms as a cowardly act of terrorism
the massacre of 24 Kashmiri Hindus, including women and children, that took
place near the town of Shopian in Kashmir".
French Foreign Ministry Spokesman - "France condemns the
attack which took place in J&K, resulting in numerous civilian casualties and
conveys its condolences to the families of the victims".
The Times, London - "The despicable massacre...is a
calculated attempt to provoke a blood bath at a time when the world is
preoccupied with Iraq. The attacks came after three months of relative peace,
and were deliberately brutal in order to goad the Indians into retaliation. It
was a crime against Kashmir's Hindu minority and a shocking reminder that
Kashmir remains a flash-point in the confrontation between the subcontinent's
two nuclear powers. The militants cannot be allowed to provoke a return to
nuclear confrontation. Musharraf is a vital ally in US efforts to deflect Muslim
criticism of the war in Iraq. But he must be held to his commitment to end the
fund arming and training of terrorists in Kashmir. Pakistan's condemnation of
the massacre is prompt and welcome. It must be backed with an unrelenting
crackdown on those who would shoot women and children in Kashmir"
Christina Rocca, US Assistant Secretary of State for
South Asia - "Continued terrorism like Sunday's attack threatens to provoke yet
another crisis in the coming months. We look to Pakistan to do everything in its
power to prevent extremist groups operating from its soil from crossing the LoC.
Pakistan has taken steps to curb infiltration but we are asking the government
to redouble its efforts. At the same time, we will use our good offices to
continue to press both sides to take confidence building steps that will lead to
a process of engagement addressing all issues that divide them (India and
Pakistan) including Kashmir".
Nadimarg Massacre - Reactions
Governor G.C. Saxena - "It is a crime against humanity and
a barbaric act of ethnic-cleansing".
Mufti Mohd. Sayeed, Chief Minister, J&K - "It is aimed at
derailing our peace process but we are committed to go ahead. This is a barbaric
act. I cannot be acquitted in this but such incidents have taken place in the
past as well. Situation has to be made conducive before the return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley. If protected people like us are not safe there, what can
be the fate of the common man".
Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, State Congress Chief - "It was a
security lapse as no proper security arrangements had been made. An inquiry
should be ordered into the massacre. All the guilty officials should be taken to
task. The government, run by PDP and the Congress, is talking about
rehabilitating Kashmiri Pandit migrants but adequate security arrangements are
missing for those who chose to stay back in the Valley for all these years".
Mr L.K. Advani, Union Home Minister - "Such acts which are
perpetrated against one particular community can only be seen as
ethnic-cleansing. Pakistan is not only responsible for violence in J&K but even
in other parts of the country"
Mr Omar Abdullah, Former Minister of State for External
Affairs - "The brutal massacre of 24 Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir should be an
eye-opener for the Mufti Sayeed government in the state to shelve its
ill-conceived plan of bringing the minority community back to the Valley. The
State government plans to rehabilitate them in Mattan and Khirbhawani places
thus leaving them an easy prey for the militants. The Chief Minister had
neglected the security concerns of the minority community. Our government could
have also brought them back. But we have to see whether we are in a position to
provide them with cent percent security or not. While healing touch policy of
the State government is well it had to see that it did not leave more deep and
painful wounds on the people of J&K".
Mr M.Venkiah Naidu, BJP President - "These incidents were
the handiwork of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism which are aimed at their long
established agenda of ethnic-cleansing of the Kashmir valley of the heterogenous
population. The Congress-PDP government in the state should immediately reassess
the utility of continuing with its soft policy on terrorism. The situation in
Kashmir requires a healing touch. This healing touch must heal only the victims
of terror and not its perpetrators. In view of the serious situation the PDP-Congress
Government will adequately respond in the national interest and review its
earlier decision of disbanding the Special Operations Group (SOG). The
international community must understand that Pakistan has not given up its cross
border terrorism and should become aware of the evil designs of Islamabad and
condemn it outright".
Prof. V.K. Malhotra senior BJP leader - "The Centre must
direct the State government under Article 355 to take action against terrorism.
If killings continue in state like this, there is no other alternative to
imposition of Article 356 in the state".
Prof. O.P. Kohli, former BJP chief - "The spurt in
terrorist activities was the direct result of the wrong policy being pursued by
the State government. Terrorism cannot be curbed by showing softness to the
militants but only by adopting a realistic and hard approach to them".
Mr M.Y. Tarigami (CPM), MLA - "There are no two opinions
that State government should review security arrangements. The forces which say
that the Pandits had migrated to Jammu for a picnic must see the realities. Even
now some voices would be raised to mislead the public that the killings were
executed by army".
Mr Harshdev Singh, Education Minister - "No civilised
society can tolerate it How long we depend on U.S. certificate of great
Dr Mehboob Beg (NC) MLC - "There were lapses and loopholes
in the security arrangements. The government examine that whether it should have
given a premature statement on the Pandits return to the Valley."
Mr Jugal Kishore (BJP) MLA‑"Militancy has got a boost
under new government while police and security forces were demoralised. If the
government couldn't provide security cover to the Pandits putting up in the
Valley, how it would take other Kashmiri migrants to the Valley? The government
should not have disbanded SoG".
Mr Mohd. Khalil Naik (CPM) MLA - "The Kashmiri Pandits had
approached me for security cover. I had sounded the concerned officers but no
action was taken to provide them with the security cover. The state government
should take strong action against the officers"
Mr Ajay Sadhotra (NC) MLA - A wave of insecurity was
prevailing among the people in view of a series of militancy related incidents
in the state. If the state government continued with its present polices, they
day is not far when the militancy would spread to Jammu and then it would be
difficult to contain it. Government should enhance ex-gratia compensation to Rs
5 lakh at par with the compensation given to the dependents of army jawans".
CPM, Polit Bureau - "This inhuman act has been deliberately
done to spoil the chances of restoring peace and allowing the minority community
to live peacefully in the Valley. Reports that police posted in Nadimarg village
did not take action to protect the families which were targeted demand a proper
inquiry into their role and prompt action".
Shabana Azami and others - "We condemn the ghastly killings
of defenceless people in the strongest possible terms. The cowards behind the
latest outrage are unlikely to identify themselves but the massacre is a
desperate bid to communalise the Kashmir issue to sabotage any efforts towards
ensuring the return of Kashmiri Pandits to their homes. We demand a thorough
investigation into security lapses that turned the vulnerable Kashmiri Pandits
into easy targets of mass murderers who pretend to be serving lofty causes. Our
hearts go out to the survivors of the carnage in particular and Kashmiri Pandit
community in general, the overwhelming majority of whom have been condemned to
live the life of refugees in their own country because of Pakistan-aided
terrorism in the Valley"
Mr Muzaffar Hussain Beg, Finance Minister - "Nadimarg
carnage is a deep stab wound in the chest of Kashmir psyche. The repeat of such
gruesome incidents will only reopen the old wounds. I wonder how would be the
next bloody chapter of the state's bleeding history scripted".
Mr Shyam Khosla, veteran Journalists - "The Pulwama
massacre of 24 Kashmiri Hindus is a part of Pakistan's evil conspiracy to
complete the "unfinished task" of ethnic-cleansing of the Valley...No one seems
to be concerned about the misery and plight of Kashmiri Hindus. They are the
forgotten community...Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's much publicised
plans to resettle Kashmiri Hindus in the Valley is meaningless as his police
force didn't fire a single shot at the mercenaries as they went about killing
innocent women and children. While any movement back to the Valley is out of
question at this juncture, what appears imminent is yet another wave of
migration from the Valley...Release of a large number of suspected terrorists
and disbanding of Special Operations Group have sent wrong signals".
Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta, President, All India
Anti-Terrorist Front - "Congress should withdraw support to the Mufti government
in J&K. Governor's rule must also be imposed on that state and KPS Gill should
be made the Governor. This kind of steps are essential for controlling militancy
Acharya Giriraj Kishore (VHP) - “Nadimarg massacre is not
only a blot for the state government but also the central government. The Centre
should take stern steps to protect the innocent people from falling prey to the
guns of terrorists. The Centre should immediately declare J&K as a disturbed
state and dismiss the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-led PDP-Congress government. The
healing touch policy of the PDP-Cong government is responsible for the spurt in
terrorist incidents in J&K".
Jammu Mukti Morcha - "The incidents like Nadimarg have
highlighted one harsh fact that state government has failed to ensure their
security. The only viable alternative to rehabilitate Kashmiri Pandits is to
carve an area out of the Valley which will be administered by the Central
government and state government having no role to play. Because of the Mufti
Sayeed led government’s soft policy towards militancy there has been a spurt in
the militancy in the state. Negotiations is no solution for militancy
particularly when it is sponsored and supported by external forces. The
militancy in J&K will not be brought under control unless security forces are
given free hand to tackle the situation".
Mr Bal Thackeray, Shiv Sena Chief - "The attack on Kashmiri Pandits, recent spate of blasts in Mumbai and the Akshardam incident are
examples of Islamic terrorism. We all have to be together and not talk in terms
of Marathi, Gujarati or Bengali...but as Hindus. And we will all have to fight
Islamic terrorism. The country is passing through a critical phase. We are like
orphans and we have no clear leader".
Mr Kuldeep Raina, General Secretary Panun Kashmir - "It is
surprising that despite tall claims to rehabilitate Kashmiri Pandits in the
Valley the government failed to protect the one who were putting up there. Our
organisation had already warned that the situation in the Valley was not
conducive. The coalition government's policies are not in favour of Kashmiri
Dr Praveen Bhai Togadia, VHP International General
Secretary - "The militants have repeated Godhra in Pulwama district of J&K by
mowing down 24 Kashmiri Pandits. The public faith in the system is waning in
view of the rising number of attacks on the Hindus and their property in J&K and
outside over the years. The soft state policy against the ultras and their
patrons from across the border could lead to outbreak of another civil war. The
watering down of the drive against militants by disbanding SOG of the state
police and withdrawing cases against terrorists as part of the 'healing touch'
policy has resulted in escalation of killings of Hindus in the state in recent