On this day 29 years ago, Arshid Ahmad Bhat rescued dozens of bullet wounded persons who had crumbled into silted dirty drains of Gaw Kadal as the indiscriminate firing by forces claimed lives of at least 50 persons.
Bhat, who was 15 then and a student of the 9th standard while recalling the grim tale of the incident said that a huge gathering of protestors were passing through Amira Kadal and Maisuma area.
While narrating the incident, 45-year-old Bhat said “Some CRPF men who had been deployed at Amira Kadal did not stop the procession but there were others (CRPF personnel) who were waiting for the procession at either side of Gaw Kadal.
He said that the protestors went ahead and thought they will be allowed to pass the locality but all of a sudden the troopers blocked the two ends of the passage.
“I saw the troopers showering bullets from both sides with were Light Machine Guns (LMGs). There were gun bursts, wails and the whole area was in deadly chaos,” Bhat said.
Narrating the ordeal of the protesting people who were injured in the indiscriminate firing of forces, Bhat recalls, “Blood was dripping from dozens of the people who were trying to run-away from the carnage site and some injured persons were lying on ground in the pools of blood.”
“Some people limping and crying for help but the troopers did not stop and continued raining bullets on the injured,” he said.
He also said that the forces stopped firing and some troopers reached the spot, checked the injured and fired on those who were alive to finish them off.
It was a massacre, Bhat said, adding “Even after 29 years I am haunted by the memories of that day. I don’t know if anyone jumped into the river, but we rescued some of the injured by sending them to Maharaj-Gung for medical treatment via boats beneath the bridge.”
“While carrying the injured towards safety, many of them died on our shoulders and some also died in the boats we were sending them off for treatment,” Bhat said.
He said that their clothes were dredged with the blood of injured persons and for some time they were in a state of terror after seeing the bodies piling up.
“The intentions of the forces were clear. I think to shoot at mass gathering was plan of forces to terrorize the area and send a signal to the whole society,” Bhat said.