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THE FOURTH WORLD - NATIONS WITHOUT A STATE
International Human Rights Organisation accuses
Indian Intelligence Agencies and Renegade Militants
for Sikh Massacre in Kashmir
The International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO), after an on the spot investigation, indicted the renegade-militants for Chithi Singhpora (Anantnag) massacre of 35 Sikhs on March 20 last. They, it said, aimed at breaking the Sikh-Muslim worldwide nexus to rundown the Kashmir movement for self-determination.
Sensing the gravity of the situation, IHRO dispatched a high level investigation team, comprising its Chairman D S Gill, General Secretary M S Grewal and Randhir Singh, to the tormented Sikh village in South Kashmir, erstwhile a hot belt of militants in the Valley, to make spot inquiries to clear the mist that is even today prevailing regarding 'who are the guilty?'
The IHRO team met about 200 people, including the aggrieved family members and eye witnesses, besides members of the Sri Nagar High Court Bar Association and the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC).
Justice Farooqi and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq were unanimous in opining that the Sikh carnage was directed to rupture the secular fabric of Kashmir and to defame the Kashmir movement for freedom. "The heinous act was so designed to scuttle US President Bill Clinton's intermediary role in resolving the conflict to restore peace in South Asia."
This machinated gruesome massacre impressed the mind of President Clinton who hurriedly endorsed the preconditions imposed by India for starting peace dialogue with Pakistan. And, this will definitely dampen the peace initiative in the region, asserted the IHRO.
Sri Nagar High Court Bar Association members told the IHRO team: "Area around the ill-fated Singhpora village is largely controlled by armed militant groups that had abandoned freedom movement and are recruited by the army as an auxiliary counter-insurgency force. They are provided with settlements almost adjoining to the army camps."
Even as the authorities alleged that the two militant organisations are involved in the killings, Hizbul Mujahideen leader Sayed Salahuddin has to say: "The killing is aimed at creating a wedge between the Sikhs and the Muslims in Kashmir," adding that Mujahideen and the people of Kashmir strongly condemn the killing of innocent Sikhs and share the grief with the victims' families. We promise that Mujahideen will avenge the killing of innocent Sikhs, according to North America chapter of the IHRO.
Lashkar-e-Toiba's spokesman Yahya Mujahed has also said: "We have never attacked any civilians. It is our record that we only target the Indian military." Pakistan condemned the Sikh carnage as well and demanded an inquiry, voicing fears that India might exploit the incident for propaganda.
"Isolate the Muslims in Kashmir," said a midlevel officer from the BSF, "then we will be free to deal with them," according to The New York Times, March 22, 2000.
Then, how come National Security advisor Brajesh Mishra named at New Delhi the two militant groups early on March 21 while the DIG, Anantnag, Raja Ajaz Ali the same evening said that killers could not be identified as they were in army fatigues, surprisingly asked the IHRO.
Almost all the militant groups of Kashmir, including their political front APHC, and Sikh organisations world-wide have accused the Indian intelligence agencies and counter-insurgency force for the killings of innocent Sikhs, said the IHRO, adding that it is not without strings that the J & K state is headed by two intelligence men as Governor (former RAW chief) and DGP.
Definitely, the accusing finger is towards the intelligence network and counter-insurgency force (renegades). "We are, therefore, left with no option but to demand a judicial inquiry by two sitting judges of the Supreme Court into this horrible massacre of innocent Sikhs in the area of South Kashmir, now mostly commanded by renegade militants, so as to sift out the truth," said the team.
"We would also demand an inquiry into the alleged encounter in which militants, said to be involved in the Singhpora killings, have been killed."
The Sikhs in the valley are least bothered about who did the act or who had directed to do the trick but they seem determined to migrate to safer place in order to live a peaceful life with a guarantee of their life and property.
The cat is out of the bag
The Times of India reported on March 31 that "militants" killed were civilians. "The killing by the army of five "militants" at Pataribal, nine km from Chithi Singhpora, on March 25 has kicked up a row with local villagers claiming that they were civilians."
The civil administration, however, has decided to order a magisterial inquiry and if necessary, exhume the bodies as the villagers have alleged that the persons were killed in a fake encounter. The army had claimed that the "militants" killed were involved in the massacre of 35 Sikhs on March 20. Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir, Khurshid Ahmad Gani, told The Times of India News Service that truth would prevail.
Meanwhile, the Anantnag Bar Association exhibited some traces of killed persons, which indicated that those killed were civilians who went missing on March 24. The district bar association demanded an independent inquiry into the Chithi Singhpora massacre and the killings in a faked encounter, according to The Tribune, March 31. "Dr Farooq Abdullah said he had directed DGP Gurbachan Jagat and ADGP-CID R K Tikku to inquire into the incident of encounter."
There was a tension in Anantnag town following an agitation launched by the local people who observed complete strike for the second day on March 30.
They also took to streets and demonstrated before the Deputy Commissioner's office disputing the army's claim that it had killed foreign militants involved in the Sikh massacre.
The army had blown up a house, said to be the hideout of the militants, and recovered five bodies, which were charred beyond recognition. The army later buried them.
The villagers alleged that they had found the turban of Jumma Khan and the sweater of Zahoor Dadal from the site of the fake encounter. They were among the five persons missing since March 24, a day before the encounter.
The villagers claimed that Jumma Khan (55), Kumma Khan (50), Zahool Dadal (25), Muhammad Yousuf Malik (45) and Bashir Ahmad Bhat (18) were missing from Braringam, Momonabad and Hallan. Their relatives had filed FIRs about the missing persons with the local police station. But the police said those killed were not the missing persons, added the TOI report.
Yet another encounter
A Defence Ministry representative said that the troops, on a tip-off that a group of militants had entered Brang valley from Kuthar valley in district Anantnag, launched a massive search operation around six 'O clock morning.
"The troops were conducting house to house searches at Halan village when they were fired upon by militants with automatic weapons from different directions. The troops retaliated and killed six militants, allegedly part of the militant group who had killed 35 Sikhs at Chithi Singhpora on March 20 night," he said (Indian Express, March 30).
He said with the killing of the six militants, 11 ultras responsible for the March 20 carnage had been eliminated within four days.
This too seems a fake encounter and needs to be investigated. Why does the army do so? Because, they have something to hide from the public.
That why the IHRO has demanded a credible judicial inquiry into the Sikh carnage and the encounter killings of those allegedly involved in the Sikh massacre.
Future of Kashmiri Sikhs in the Valley?
They are not bothered who did it. They are worried about their future. Six persons of the ill-fated village were on the hit list of the renegade militants. Three (Fauzi Charan Singh, Prabhu Singh and Nasib Singh) of them have been short dead and the fourth one (Nanak Singh) was injured seriously and now is in the army hospital. (Binder Kaur is also in hospital due to heart attack caused as a result of her son Ravinder Singh's death in the carnage).
The top on the list was the ex-serviceman Charan Singh who along with the others was vocal enough to oppose the iniquitous deeds of the renegades in the village who frequently visited them.
A young boy and relative of Mohammad Yaqoob @ Chhatta, who was arrested next morning from the village, told the IHRO team: "Who knows in a village who is who? Renegades are more dangerous. They more often indulge in immoral activities, including drinking, sexual abuse, loot and innocent killings. Both Sikhs and Muslims alike are targets of these elements."
Sikhs reported two cases of abduction of Sikh girls at gunpoint in area around by these itinerants. On the night of March 23 when the IHRO team was staying in the village, an army colonel offered arms and Rs 5000/- monthly to each of about 200 village Sikh youth for purging militants. They flatly refused to become cat-like. They along with other Kashmiri Sikhs decided to migrate from Kashmir and finally put this decision before the Sikh national leadership on March 31.
The Sikh world extended all support and sympathy to the victim families of Chithi Singhpora village and assured all help in future while postponing the idea of mass migration for the time being. Almost all-militant groups and their political outfits have with one voice condemned the ghastly massacre and decided to instil the confidence among the local Sikhs at mass level.
And the Government should shoulder the responsibility to let the people know: who are the guilty (?) by ordering judicial inquiry into the Sikh carnage.
Meanwhile, the IHRO has, on April 2, 2000, petitioned to the National Human Rights Commission Chairman Mr Justice J S Verma to get investigated the massacre and subsequent killings of the "militants" in encounters with the army troops so that the truth may come out and the guilty may be brought to book. "Seeing the gravity of the matter, we therefore, urge this honourable commission to immediately take up this matter along with the petition preferred by Sardar Manjit Singh Butalia advocate for compensation to the aggrieved family of Singhpora village massacre."
J & K High Court Bar Association Members' Views A K Malik: The act is very condemnable. It seems an act of counter-insurgency forces. There should be a thorough inquiry to identify the real culprits. Government must shoulder its responsibility for this.
Abdul Majeed Daar: This genocide of Sikhs is to malign the majority community of Kashmir. In the last 12 years, the Sikhs were never harmed. There is a deep-rooted conspiracy to do that. One can understand who really is the gainer of this most deplorable massacre of innocent Sikhs, especially at a time when President Clinton was scheduled to start a dialogue with the PM in New Delhi.
H D Ahmed: There is always a reason for an action. At a time when Pundits migrated from Kashmir Sikhs opted to stay back home because of fellowship with Muslims had become strong after 1984. Actually, Sikhs and Muslims are now coming closer not only in Kashmir but also worldwide. This ghastly act is aimed at dampening this process. I am afraid a few renegade boys in the form of Mujahideen might have used in this machination.
A M Khan: One who was not ashamed of killing thousands of Sikhs in Amritsar and then Delhi and other parts of India will not feel ashamed of killing 35 Sikhs in Kashmir to defame Kashmir freedom movement and to blame Pakistan for all this. Unless checked by the majority here these like incidents may repeat in future elsewhere in the valley.
Justice Farooqi: The motive behind the mass killing of Sikhs at a certain point of time and the circumstantial evidence available with us goes to show that the real culprits may not be the freedom fighters, but the renegades and their masters who cover them and condone their private loot and nefarious activities.
Onkar Singh: Kashmiri Muslims owe a reply to the Sikhs why they have been so killed and what is the future security.
List of Sikhs killed in the Chithi Singhpora Massacre Outside the Village Gurdwara 1. Charan Singh 2. Jagir Singh 3. Nasib Singh Nambardar 4. Didar Singh 5. Sartaj Singh 6. Ujjal Singh 7. Darbara Singh 8. Rajdeep Singh 9. Kingpal Singh 10. Sukha Singh 11. Sarwan Singh 12. Jagdish Singh 13. Gurmit Singh 14. Kulbir Singh 15. Raghunath Singh 16. Ravinder Singh 17. Faqir Singh In Shokhipora Mohalla 18. Niranjan Singh (60) 19. Ranjit Singh (40) 20. Rattan Singh (35) 21. Karnail Singh (30) 22. Gurbax Singh (35) 23. Uttam Singh (30) 24. Gurdip Singh (22) 25. Ajit Singh (17) 26. Devinder Singh (17) 27. Surjit Singh (17) 28. Ravinder Singh (25) 29. Mangal Singh (30) 30. Joginder Singh (30) 31. Sukhpal Singh (40) 32. Rachpal Singh (29) 33. Ranbir Singh (27) 34. Gurmukh Singh (35) 35. Jang Bahadur Singh (30) One Injured: Nanak Singh