Sgr areas shut to protest Gawkadal ‘massacre’

Amid restrictions, parts of Srinagar city Sunday observed shutdown to mark the 28-th anniversary of Gawkadal massacre in which over 50 civilians were killed in 1990.

Authorities imposed restrictions under section 144 of CrPc in the areas falling under police stations including Khanyar, Rainawari, Nowhatta, Safakadal, MR Gunj, Maisuma and Kralkhud. The restrictions were imposed as a precautionary measure in view of a shutdown call by separatists in Gawkadal and the areas adjoining the Lal Chowk to protest the killing of over 50 civilians allegedly by the CRPF on 21 January 1990.

Witnesses said that heavy contingent of police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were deployed in Gawkadal and its surrounding areas to prevent public processions. “People were not allowed to come out and protest against the massacre,” said a local resident.

However, the Joint resistance leaders and activists defied the restrictions and tried to take out a protest procession but were prevented by forces. Later, scores of JRL leaders, activists and locals assembled at Basant Bagh and paid tributes the slain victims. “When they tried to take out the procession towards the site of the incident, a contingent of forces intercepted and pushed them back,” said a witness. He said that the JRL leaders and activists while carrying the banners showing pictures of victims of massacre managed to reach Basant Bagh.
Reports said that as deployment of forces was withdrawing, youth restored to stone pelting at Nawakadal area of downtown. They were, however, dispersed by forces after they fired tear smoke shells.
Meanwhile, shops and business establishments remained shut in commercial hub Lal Chowk and its adjoining areas although the weekly Sunday market was abuzz with activity.
Chairman of Hurriyat (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Hurriyat (G) chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani were placed under house arrest, while JKLF chief Mohammad Yasin Malik, who was arrested on Friday, was sent to judicial custody.
Justice continues to elude families of victims of Gaw Kadal massacre despite 28 years. Over 50 people were killed and hundreds injured after troops opened fire upon on peaceful protestors who were protesting against the harassment of people including women on the dreadful night of 20 January 1990 by the forces during house-to-house searches at Chota Bazar in downtown.

javid@risingkashmir.com