Srinagar, January 06, 2013 (PPI-OT): In occupied Kashmir, the memories of the Sopore massacre still haunt the people of the apple town even after the massage of twenty years. On 6th January in 1993, more than 50 civilians were killed and hundreds others injured in the indiscriminate firing of the troops of Indian Border Security Force. Over 350 structures were gutted after the troops had set the Sopore town ablaze in vengeance of the killing of two of their colleagues in an attack.
The local residents say that the BSF personnel went berserk after the incident and opened indiscriminate fire on the unarmed civilians and set ablaze the markets especially Iqbal Market. “It’s hard to forget the horrific incident that killed scores of people in the Sopore market. Fumes were coming from every house and every shop,” said an eyewitness.
Mohammad Ramzan Baig, then 17, said that he and five others had hid themselves in a shop at Main Chowk, Sopore, when they became the victim of the troops. He said that the BSF personnel found them in the shop and dragged them out before showering bullets on them. Ramzan said that a few second before the shooting, he attempted to run from the spot realizing that he was going to die either way. He, however, fell down only few meters away when his knee received a burst of bullets. “They did not shoot at me again, perhaps they thought that I was dead,” he said in an interview.
Ramzan said that after some time the troopers threw the bodies of five persons, who were his neighbouring shopkeepers, into a shop and torched the whole building. “Throwing me into the building also did not strike their mind. Perhaps I was lucky to survive,” he added. He said that two months of medical treatment could not save him from amputation.
“I was hiding inside my shop when I found the building on fire. I escaped from the rare door of the building. But there were few neighbouring shopkeepers who were burned alive, only their skeletons were retrieved later,” Mohammad Shafi, a survivor of the massacre. Ali Mohammad, another survivor, said, “The carnage will haunt him till death. Many years have passed but I can still hear the screams of innocent people.”
The Chairman of International Forum for Justice/Human Rights Forum Jammu and Kashmir, Muhammad Ahsan Untoo, said that the families of the Sopore victims still await justice as the one man commission headed by Justice Amarjeet Chaudhary, the then sitting judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court didn’t come to Kashmir and that was the reason the culprits were still roaming freely. Human Right organizations like the Amnesty International had also condemned the Sopore killing and demanded immediate justice for the victims.
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Kashmir Media Service
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