Survivors seek punishment to accused soldiers
Srinagar, Aug 8: Family members of nine innocent people including two kids who were gunned down by Indian Border Security Force personnel during the intervening night of August 6 and 7 in 1990 at Mashali Mohalla locality of Kashmir capital Srinagar have sought stringent punishment for the guilty responsible for the innocent killings.
The survivors told news agency CNS they will never forget that night when BSF targeted Mir, Magloo and Beigh families of Mashali Mohalla Hawal and murdered 9 innocent people including two kids.
A survivor Munir Ahmed Beigh said that BSF men killed his father Bashir Ahmed, his two brothers Muzaffar Ahmed (10) and Ajaz Ahmed (06) and even fired a bullet into the chest of his mother Mehbooba, who luckily survived.
“The BSF men from 75 Battalion that night not only murdered 9 innocent people but also molested women folk. ‘Aag lagao. Mere ko dead body chahiye’, this is how J K Sharma, the then Additional Deputy Inspector General Commandant of Border Security Force’s 75th battalion, told his men before they shot dead 9 innocent locals. Besides DIG Sharma, the other BSF personnel accused were Deputy Commandant R P Bhukal; Head Constable Gajjan Singh and Constable Uttam Singh. All four were initially suspended from service and subsequently given “routine” postings. Court Martial was ordered against the DIG Sharma but till date nobody knows about the status of that case.”
As per data available, the court of inquiry charged Sharma with “omission of effective command and control over his troops which led to uncontrolled firing which led to the death of civilians.” The other charges are culpable homicide (not amounting to murder) and causing grievous injuries. Sharma has also been charged with committing an outrage on the modesty of a woman. The three BSF personnel also face similar charges. Evidence recorded by the BSF shows that the party led by Sharma let loose a reign of terror on the residents of Mashali Mohalla on that fateful night. Houses were set on fire, ammunition and arms were “planted” in the homes of the victims and one woman, who had minutes ago seen her husband being shot down by the BSF men, molested. Two other women, living in houses nearby, were also molested.
According to BSF records, there are eyewitness accounts of BSF personnel confessing that it was the DIG himself who gave the chilling “Aag lagao. Mere ko dead body chahiye”, directions to his men. Further eyewitness accounts claim that after issuing this order, DIG Sharma left the spot. Five minutes later, Mashali Mohalla was resounding with the wails of hysterical women and children. Mehbooba, one of the widows of Mashali Mohalla, told the court of inquiry that she first heard the sound of vehicles screeching at her door and some men shouting, “Pakistani Kutto, Bahar ajayo” (Pakistani dogs, come out). After this she heard sounds of rapid-fire and the shattering of windowpanes. Her husband, Bashir Ahmed Baig, 60, was sleeping by her side. Within minutes, the door was broken down and the BSF men stormed in. They pulled off her clothes. In the meantime, she heard shots in the other room.
Her youngest son, Ajaz, had hidden himself under a table and was dragged out. One of the BSF men shot him too. Mehbooba ran to other room to find her husband, older son Muzzafar and a guest Abdul Rehman, all bleeding from bullet-injuries. Ten minutes later, a turbaned BSF officer returned. Seeing a new face in uniform, Mehbooba ran wailing to him, only to be shot at on the left side of her chest. She wrapped a quilt around herself and lay near the body of her husband. Her youngest son died on the way to the hospital.
Abdul Rehman lived to tell the tale though he lost his left eye. The house was then set on fire. Tasleema, the other Mashali Mohalla widow, has also given a graphic account of the massacre at the hands of the BSF. She has stated that the BSF personnel came to the first floor of her house and opened fire. She hid under the bed when she was pulled out by a BSF jawan, who ripped her cloths and tried to force himself on her. It was the whistle from DIG Sharma a signal to end the “operation” which Tasleema says she herself heard, that saved her from further humiliation. She stepped out only after the firing stopped to see the bodies of her father, Ghulam Qadir Magloo, and her two brothers, Mushtaq and Ahmed Magloo, lying on the ground, riddled with bullets. By their side was their neighbour, Farooq Baig. All of them were dead.
The youngest witness for the BSF’s court of inquiry was Baby Jaan, Farooq Baig’s 15 year old daughter. She told the court of inquiry how the Jawans attempted to molest her when she was covering under the bed. A BSF officer pulled her out but disgusted with her hysterical screaming, cut open her right cheek with a knife, spat on her and left.
The relatives of the slain people while questioning how and why the perpetrators are not hanged said every year they protest to remind to Government of India about the wrongdoing they have done in Kashmir. “It has been 27 years and justice is still deluding us. The reason behind highlighting this incident is to shake the conscience of those who didn’t bring the guilty to justice,” the survivors said. (CNS)