Chattisinghpora (Shangus): 16 years on, justice eludes victims of Chattisinghpora massacre
Sixteen years have passed since the horrifying massacre of Kashmiri Sikhs took place here as justice eludes the victims of families of 35 persons who were shot dead point blank.
It was on the eve of Holi that 35 Sikhs were targeted on March 20 evening with blood all over on the roads of this village in South Kashmir.
Nanak Singh, 59, a lone survivor of the massacre who lost his 16-year old son Gurmeet Singh, 25-year old brother Dalbeer Singh and three of his cousins in the gory incident says, “It was at around 7:45 in the evening when gunmen in army uniform asked the villagers to come out of their houses and assemble saying that they had information about the presence of militants in the area.”
He said that the villagers who were inside the Gurdwara were also made to assemble outside.
“While 19 people were made to assemble near main Gurduwara among whom I was one, 17 more were queued up near another small Gurdwara in Shokipora,” Singh says.
He said that the attackers who were speaking in Hindi offered wine which they rejected. “They later opened fire on people. The bodies were lying all around me in a pool of blood and I could hardly gather what had happened. A bullet pierced through my hip but I survived, only to watch five of my family members being cremated,” says Nanak amid sobs.
Nanak, who survived after receiving a bullet injury, is baffled about the reluctance of the government in ordering inquiry.
“Leave apart justice, what I fail to understand is what stopped the State and Central governments from at least ordering an inquiry into the horrific massacre of 35 Sikhs,” said Nanak Singh.
Nanak is also secretary of local Gurduwara Prabhandak committee demanded a thorough inquiry into Chattisinghpora massacre as also reopening of Pathribal and Brakpora cases which he claimed were interlinked.
Narender Kaur, 56 who lost all three male members in her family including husband in the massacre is yet to come out of the trauma of the gory incident.
“I can’t forget that fateful evening. They asked the male members of our family to come out of their houses and assemble outside as they have to carry searches,” says Kaur who lost four family members in the incident.
She says that her husband, brother in law and his two sons also came out after they assured them that they have only to check their Identity cards and will leave them within 5 minutes.
“After sometime we heard the sound of bullets followed my screams. I along with other neighbors rushed out to see dead bodies lying all around in a pool of blood,” says Kaur.
Kaur’s husband Gurbaksh Singh was killed in the incident leaving behind two daughters and aged father. Her brother in law Uttam Singh and his two sons Ajeet Paul Singh and Gurdeep Singh were also killed.
“It was a doomsday for us as. I while desperately tried to look for the body of my husband, brother in law and his children felt unconscious,” says Kaur.
“I have been living with the trauma of losing three of my family members”
“It has been sixteen years since the incident but the government has not even bothered to at least probe the incident leave apart punishing the culprits,” says Kaur.
Kaur is not the only one who lost more than one family member.
Jeet Kaur , 75, also lost five male members in the family.
Her husband- Fakir Singh and two sons – Karnail Singh and Seetal Singh fell to the bullets while.her grand -sons Jitender Singh and Sony Singh were also among those killed.
Karnail, who was elder son of Jeet is now survived by widow Prakash Kuar, 50, two daughters while Seetal-the younger son is survived by widow Sheshandar Kaur, 48, two sons and a daughter.
“I lost everything. but lived only for the sake of my grand children and daughter in laws,” says ailing Jeet.