Chotta Bazaar Massacre: A lesson in Tyranny

Washington, DC June 11, 2024 (TW) __“Justice has been denied to the victims of Chotta Bazaar Srinagar, Kashmir massacre, when at least 32 civilians were killed, and more than two dozen injured after Indian Central Reserve Police Forces (CRPF) opened indiscriminate fire with their automatic weapons in the densely populated area of the city of Srinagar on June 11, 1991. Indian army alleged that it opened fire after a clash with unknown attackers in the vicinity.,” said Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Chairman, Washington-based World Kashmir Awareness Forum.

Justice Mufti Bahauddin Farooqi, former Chief Justice of Jammu & Kashmir High Court issued a statement the following day that it was immediately incumbent upon the authorities to permit a fair and impartial investigation by an outside source. If the Army is concerned about promoting good relations with Kashmiri communities, then only truth will serve that purpose. It is in the best interests of everyone concerned that open and freely given testimony be permitted in any case where there are disputed facts or allegations.

Dr. Fai added that there are numerous earlier incidents, when the Indian army claimed that militants were involved in killings but later it was found that these killings were carried out by the army itself, among them, the Chattisingpora massacre, when 34 Sikhs were killed on March 20, 2000, occurred when former U.S. President Bill Clinton was visiting India.

India immediately claimed that the killers were foreign militants. Later, it was proved that it was carried out by the Indian army. Another notable incident was the Pathribal killing on March 25, 2000. India again claimed that it involved foreign militants. However, 10 years later, on March 19, 2010, the Central Bureau of Investigation told the Supreme Court of India that it was cold-blooded murder carried out by the Indian army.

Fai reiterated that furthermore, however culpable the Indian Army may be, draconian laws like the ‘Armed Forces Special Powers Act’ (AFSPA), the ‘Unlawful Activity Prevention Act’ (UAPA) and others have given total impunity to the Indian army and they are not accountable to anybody.

These laws need to be repealed. By instituting such laws, India can only be seen as a foreign occupier and actually promotes a state of war with Kashmiris, which it has done for 76 years. It is undeniably occupation when the rules of civil society are imposed from outside, freedom of expression is suppressed, and international laws, guidelines and resolutions are preempted. It is occupation and state terrorism when justice is meted out spontaneously, on the spot, through the barrel of a gun.

Why should the world powers remain silent when the Indian army is involved in crimes against humanity? Don’t they know that their silence unwittingly has given a sense of total impunity to the Indian army? It is time, India, to withdraw your troops.

It is time to show your humanity and put some strength in those democratic principles which you allege to idealize. It is time, world powers, to back up your words with deeds instead of just lip service and to truly lead in championing those values that have brought progress to the world community instead of selling them all for corporate profits.

Dr. Fai is also the Secretary General, World Kashmir Awareness and can be reached at:
WhatsApp: 1-202-607-6435 OR

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