Pulwama massacre: SHRC demands ‘detailed factual report’ from authorities

Srinagar: The state human rights commission (SHRC) on Monday directed the authorities to file a ‘factual’ report into the killings of seven civilians in Pulwama district.

Acting on a complaint filed by rights activist Ahsan Untoo into the killings, the SHRC issued an order which stated: “…notice along with copy of complaint to commissioner secretary Home Department, DGP JK, DC Pulwama and SSP Pulwama for submitting the factual detailed report in the matter by or before the next date of hearing”.

Referring to recent incident of Bulandshar—where protestors had killed an on-duty police officer, the petitioner has alleged that forces opened fire on protestors in Pulwama “with an intention to kill”.

“…the police and forces personnel fired above the waist and all the civilians killed got fire arm marks above their waist and four civilians, who are presently battling for life are having fire arm injuries on different parts of their body that too are above the waist,” he said, adding this “clearly indicates the intention of the forces to kill the protestors only”.

Otherwise, he said, there are other means to disperse the protestors peacefully which is applied by the forces in other parts of the India. “for example, the recent episode of Bulandshar wherein protestors killed the police officer but no force was used against the protestors”.

The complainant has also stated before the commission that he “was informed by the local people about the situation. People narrated the terrible ordeal how forces used the force against the innocent civilians without any provocation and forces personnel fire(d) indiscriminately, some people ran for cover but seven people got killed on spot, many got injured and four are battling for life presently”.

Untoo in his petition alleged that the forces’ personnel entered into the houses and damaged the properties of civilians after the gunfight was over. He said people resisted and raised their protests against the damaging of their properties.

The protesters, he said, were “seeking justice against the harassment and beating of common people which infuriated the police and forces’ personnel and they started indiscriminate firing on the civilians.”

Untoo said that appropriate steps need to be taken immediately. “Otherwise it will cause huge damage to the civil population of the Jammu and Kashmir, particularly Kashmir valley,” he said.

The petitioner has also urged the SHRC to constitute an independent team for investigation into the incident.

Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) has called for a three-day shutdown and mourning in Kashmir and urged people to march towards the army base in Badami Bagh in Srinagar on Monday.

Army on Sunday asked people to avoid the march towards 15 corps headquarters situated at Badami Bagh Cantonment. In a statement,  an army spokesperson said Indian Army is always with the people of Kashmir and would foil all such “evil attempts of militant-Separatist-Pakistan nexus to pit the civilian population against the Security Forces.”

Hurriyat (M) chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was detained by the Police on Monday after he defied his house arrest and tried to march towards Badami Bagh army base in Srinagar as a mark of protest against Pulwama civilian killings.

Earlier, Yasin Malik , Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief was detained after he tried to march towards Badami Bagh army base in Srinagar. Malik, who had gone into hiding to evade arrest was detained at Budshah Bridge after he lead a march towards the army base.

Curfew like restrictions are in place in Srinagar in order to prevent the march. Restrictions will remain in force in Ram Munshibagh, Rainawari, Khanyar, Nowhatta, M.R. Gunj and Safa Kadal areas, with partial restrictions in Maisuma and Kralkhud.

Seven civilians were killed after armed forces opened fire on protesters near the site of a gunfight in Kharpora Sarnoo village of Pulwama district on Saturday. Three militants and an army man were killed in the gunfight.

National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah while reacting on the Pulwama civilian killings said that it is a massacre and there is no other way to describe it.

Earlier, Abdullah while reacting to the civilian killings had said that it was  ‘another blood soaked weekend in Kashmir’

PDP President Mehbooba Mufti while reacting to the civilian killings has said that there would be no probe which would bring back the dead. She also asked that ‘is this what was expected from the Governor rule’?

She also said that no country can win a war by killing its own people.

Poeples’ Conference chief Sajad Lone while reacting on the Pulwama civilian killings said that the administration seriously needs to evaluate the cost of such operations. He added that ‘hope the administration gives up its Rambo mindset.’

Police, in their statement said that they were ‘deeply grieved’ by the loss of civilian lives however claimed that the crowd came ‘dangerously close’ to the gunfight site.

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