Gaw Kadal Massacre Police now accepts 22 persons died in forces firing at Gaw Kadal in 1990

After 27 years, police in a reply to State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) have accepted that 22 persons were killed and 12 others were injured in a Gaw Kadal Massacre.

Zonal Police Office East Zone Srinagar through District Police Headquarters Srinagar in a report submitted before SHRC have stated that “Report sought from Station House Officer (SHO) Police Station Kral Khud reveals that 22 persons died and 12 others were injured at Gaw Kadal on 21-01-1990.”

SHRC Wednesday said that the Chief Prosecuting Officer of the commission has submitted the list of deceased and injured in connection with the Gaw Kadal massacre.

Chairman of the commission, Justice (Retd) Bilal Nazki said a copy of the list will be given to the petitioner and Additional Advocate General (AAG) shall be also informed whether the NOKs of the deceased or injured in the incident were compensated or not.

The petition of the case was filed by chairman of International Forum of Justice Ahsan Untoo in the year 2012.
The petition reads, “That on 21st of January 1990 peaceful demonstrations were held throughout the valley against the atrocities committed by the CRPF in the different localities of the valley and one such procession was going on near Gaw Kadal Srinagar in which thousands of peaceful protestors were demanding that a stringent Action may be taken against the CRPF and the mob was totally peaceful.”

“When the procession reached Gaw Kadal Chowk the then DSP Kothi Bagh, Alla Baksh along with his team which was led by CRPF personnel fired indiscriminately on the peaceful protestors in which 50 persons were killed on the spot and 250 were injured,” reads a petition.

After the petition was filed, the commission in the year 2012 directed the then Director General of Police (DGP) and Deputy Commissioner Srinagar to file a compliance report in connection with this incident.
For a long time when government did not file any report in the case, then SHRC directed its own investigation wing headed by SP SHRC to conduct the inquiry into this incident.

In his finding, SP SHRC has stated, “Worthwhile to mention that after lapse of more than 26 years investigation agencies have failed to fix individual/joint responsibility of security forces involved in the Gaw Kadal firing incident.”

“There are contradictory versions from authorities as to whether curfew orders had been in imposition or not. Director General of Police J&K in his report has acknowledged that curfew had been imposed, but the authorities have failed to identify the magistrate on duty on the concerned day in Gaw Kadal area. This is a serious matter, if police version is to be given credence that the mob had turned violent, it is imperative to ask as to who functioned as magistrate and gave orders to open fire.”

However, no official order/confirmation despite DGP’s averment could be produced by the concerned to corroborate that curfew had been in place.

Neither has any credible explanation been provided as to why it is not known that who conducted the duties of Magistrate on that date, in Gaw Kadal locality, SHRC inquiry report read.
The report submitted by SP SHRC further states that, “The assertion made by the complainants about the number of slain and injured in the incident is an exaggeration particularly as they have failed to substantiate/corroborate these allegations in any way or contradict the official version, notwithstanding requests made to this end.”

“The report received from Police Hospital Srinagar and other hospital records have given the number of dead in the incident as 22 and injured as 12. (report of DC Srinagar enclosed) and a case under FIR 3/1990 U/S 147, 188, 153, 307, etc had been lodged in the incident at P/S Kral Khud, but after an interminable delay of 8 years the case was closed as untraced in the year 1998 and the final report Ikhtitami has not been submitted to the courts for judicial determination,” inquiry report further read.

Meanwhile the Director General of Police J&K while responding to the inquiry report of SP SHRC in connection with the killing of 50 persons in Gaw Kadal, Srinagar have stated that, “While concluding the inquiry, the inquiry officer has alleged serious human rights violations at the hands of the security forces. In context of ZPHQ letter (Supra) comments on the said report were called by this office from SP East Zone Srinagar.”

Police have further stated that “In view of the comments submitted by SP East Zone Srinagar, it is submitted that on 08.09-2013, CD file of the case stands submitted to the prosecution section of PHQ J&K, through HC Ghulam Ahmad No.4165/S vide DDR No 18 dated 08-09-2013, more so it is apt to mention here that once it is borne out from the copy of FIR and also from the report of worthy DGP J&K that on the date of occurrence curfew was imposed.”

“It is important to underline here that from the report submitted by SP East Srinagar, it becomes palpably clear that on 12th January 1990 at about 1115hours, an unruly mob in defiance to curfew orders were chanting anti-nationals slogans, pelted stones upon the army personnel deployed for law and order duties in Gaw Kadal area. Some of the members of unruly mob even attempted to snatch the weapons from the army personnel, which compelled army personnel to open fire in self defense due to which some people died and others received injuries,” The police report said.