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Chattisinghhpora massacre scar on face of India

By Arshad Hussain

Indian Hindu fascist forces, who always have been enjoying deep rooted influence in almost every facet of the government and institutions like Army, have left no stone unturned to suppress the Kashmiri people and crush their genuine struggle for inalienable right to self determination. They not only do use brute military might to crush their freedom movement but also avail every opportunity to communalize it.

These Hindu fascist forces systematically carried out Jalianwala Bagh like massacres in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir ever since the Kashmiris took to the arms in 1989 after failing to achieve their goal of self determination through peaceful means while being in Indian political system for 45 long years.

Apart from Gaw Kadal, Kupwara, Handwara and dozens of other mass murdering incidents of Muslims in IIOJK, Indian fascist forces also carried out some massacres of local minorities in Vandhama Ganderbal and other localities of the occupied territory to make them to flee from the Valley and to give false impression that the Kashmir freedom movement was of the communal nature.

Instead of offering protection to the Pandits, the Indian government issued advisories asking them to quit the Kashmir valley, and felicitated their departure to advance the RSS-devised plan of portraying Kashmir freedom struggle as a communal issue and not an issue of right to self-determination.

After succeeding in making the Pandits to flee from the valley, Indian agencies in order to cash it at international forums advised their RSS agents to target the Sikh community as well. Sikhs, wise enough to sense the Indian designs, refused to fall prey to them. Indians then waited for bigger occasion and bigger stage to further execute their plan to defame and communalize the genuine cause of the Kashmiri people and the globally recognised disputed nature of the conflict.

On March 20th in 2000, when the then US president Bill Clinton landed in India on a first visit of any US President in 22 years, Indian fascist forces struck in a big and gruesome way. 30-40 heavily armed men wearing Indian Army fatigues, arrived into the village of Chittisinghpora in military vehicles in two groups at separate ends of the village where the two gurdwaras were located, while the villagers had been celebrating the Hola Mahalla, a Sikh festival. They ordered them to line up in front of the gurdwaras and opened fire, instantly killing 35 of them.

Although the Indian fascist forces, according to their plan made hue and cry and employed all the propaganda machinery to blame Kashmiri Mujahideen but there were many evidences of Indian army carrying out the brutal act. How was it possible for Mujahideen to arrange army vehicles and carry out the gruesome operation for so long?
The lone survivor of Chittisinghpora, Nanak Singh, narrating the gory happening, said, “They [RSS goons] were

calling each other with the names of Pawan, Bansi, Bahadur and they left while shouting ‘Jai Hind’.
Indian Army’s retired Lt Gen KS Gill, who in 2017 was part of the investigation, said in an interview to Sikh News Express, that the Indian Army was involved in the massacre and the report had been submitted to the then Indian Home Minister L.K. Advani.

Medeleine Albright, the then US Secretary of State, visiting along with president Clinton, under the influence of Indian propaganda, showed anguish against the Kashmiri mujahideen at first. However, later on after realizing the facts, she didn’t hesitate to write in her 2006 memoir titled “The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs” that it was the handiwork of Hindutva forces who perpetrated the brutal act.

The Chittisinghpora massacre further led to the innocent killings in Pathribal and Barakpora areas of Islamabad district.

Between 23rd and 25th March 2000, Indian Army’s 7th Rashtrya Rifles along with Special Operations Group (SOG) of police abducted five men from different areas of Islamabad district and killed them in a fake encounter at a far flung and unpopulated hilly area of Pathribal. On the same day, the SSP police Islamabad, in presence of Advani, was made to announce that these men were five “foreign militants’ who were responsible for the Chattisinghpora massacre. A villager from Pathribal on seeing the bodies of the killed men recognizes one of the abducted as Jumma Khan.

The bodies charred beyond recognition were buried separately without any postmortem examination. However, it was very doubtful for local people bodies to believe the official version. There were protests across the valley against the killings. Around 2000 villagers took out a peaceful procession demanding justice for the victims of Pathribal fake encounter and return of the victims’ bodies to their families. On reaching Barakpora, the peaceful procession was openly fired at by the men in uniform and eight civilians were killed.

Although the bodies of the Pathribal victims were burnt beyond recognition, the families were able to recognize the men from certain marks and peculiarities. Blood samples from the bodies were also taken for establishing their identities through DNA analysis, but these samples were fudged twice.

Indian Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) after taking the case to investigate the fake encounter filed a charge sheet against 5 personnel of 7 RR in 2006, maintaining that others were also involved in the heinous crime. DNA analysis done under CBI proved that the five men were the ones who were abducted from their homes before the fake encounter. The CBI also found facts challenging the army’s claim that the encounter was genuine, that while the bodies of the victims were burnt beyond recognition, their ‘hideout’ place was not. The CBI also proved the encounter was fake and the army was at fault. The Indian army besides not cooperating in the investigation demanded the case to be transferred to army court. The Indian Army in Kashmir enjoys immunity under Armed Forces Special Powers Act and cannot be charged in any civil court including the Supreme Court. And, as usual army closed the matter stating lack of evidence and the culprits were freed once again and justice was denied.

Several petitions were filed by the family members and several local bodies sought the report from the army. There was also a petition filed challenging the Army’s decision to close the case. But every time a petition was filed, it was rejected stating that army had the option to close the case, and justice was not delivered. On 27th July 2016, the families approached Indian Supreme Court again and filed a petition stating all the problematic aspects of the investigation and how AFSPA has helped army to avoid punishment for such criminal offences committed by them.

Sikh bodies of J&K, India and across the world besides the family members of the victims of Pathribal and Brakpora have since then been demanding justice. Kith and kin of the victims approached every forum running from pillar to post and despite charge sheet filed by the CBI, Indian Army and Hindutva forces, with the aime to save the killers, never allowed the case to be probed as per the norms of justice.

Interlinked killings of Chatisinghpora, Pathribal and Brakpora are enough to gauge the criminal role of India in illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir and truly a depiction of the ugly side of its so-called democratic face.
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