Gaw Kadal Massacre: Civil society stands in solidarity with victims

On the eve of 28th anniversary of Gaw Kadal massacre, members of civil society, lone survivor of massacre and International Forum for Justice (IFJ) Saturday stand in solidarity with the Next of Kins (NOK) and staged a protest demonstration here in Pratap Park against the killing of 51 civilians who were killed in a forces firing on 21 January in year 1990.

On the occasion, the lone survivor of the massacre Farooq Ahmad Wani while recalling the incident said, “whenever I walk over Gaw Kadal Bridge there comes an awful nostalgic and a haunt every time.”

Wani was then working as Assistant Executive Engineer (AEE) in the Public Health Engineering department and while narrating the scenes of the massacre, he said, “I thought to throw myself into the river when the forces were pumping bullets towards the unarmed protesters but somebody from my back pushed me and I fell down on the bridge.”

“When I fell down and I thought not to get up as firing was going on at the top and I think to lie down for a movement until there was calm.”

All of the sudden when the cries and the roar turned into silence I feel the presence of Indian trooper who was standing there with an SLR rifle. I thought if I get up he may shoot me and I found better to wait till their officer will come.”

“When their officer came back to bridge after he had gone to chase away the protesters, I saw a security forces officer along with his 8-10 associates pumping bullets into the heads of the injured persons with an intention not to spare anybody alive,” Wani recalls.

He further said, “Keeping the situation in the mind I presume to be dead because till that time no bullet had hit my body but when one fellow spotted me alive, he told his officer Sir Woh Zinda Hai, ‘Sir he is alive’. When I saw that officer coming towards me, I got up by putting my hands down and I cried please don’t kill me I am an Officer on duty. He started abusing me and they sprayed bullets all over my back.”

“Few movements later I was been thrown into the truck along with dozens of dead bodies of locals who were killed by the security forces in the indiscriminate firing,” Wani said

Wani also said, “I was the only alive person in that truck in which more than 30 bodies were dispatched.”

Meanwhile, Kashmir Centre for Social and Developmental Studies (KCSDS) – a civil society group chairman, Hameeda Nayeem on the occasion said, “Everyone’s heart bleeds when the news of Gaw Kadal massacre spread and to remember such massacres we must establish the memorials at every place where such kind of massacres have occurred so that our posterity can recognise the sacrifices of the people of Kashmir.”

IFJ chairman Mohammad Ahsan Untoo among many civil members of civil society including, Hameeda Nayeem, Ab Majeed Zargar, Zareef Ahmad Zareef, Shabir Ahmad Dar, Mohammad Iqbal Mir and lone survivor of massacre Farooq Ahmad Wani was present there.

Pertinently it is mention that J&K State Human Rights Commission (SHRC), in its finding into Gaw Kadal massacre of 1990, said Police and State authorities had given contradictory statements on whether curfew had been imposed at the time of forces firing or not.

The investigation wing of SHRC headed by its Superintendent of Police (SP) in his findings regarding the Gaw Kadal massacre of 21 January 1990 has stated, “There are contradictory versions from authorities as to whether curfew/prohibitory orders had been in imposition or not.

The Director General of Police J&K in his report has acknowledged that curfew had been imposed (as is also mentioned in the FIR), but the authorities have failed to identify the magistrate who had ordered the curfew restrictions in Gowkadal area (on that particular day).”