Central City Shuts Down: Gaw Kadal Massacre Victims Remembered

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 SRINAGAR: The commercial hub of Srinagar remained shut down on Monday to mark the anniversary of a bloodbath carried out in the Gaw Kadal area of the central city twenty-three years ago.  

Lal Chowk and adjoining markets of Court Road, Maisuma, Gaw Kadal, Red Cross Road, Residency Road and Maulana Azad Road remained closed with shuttered shops, though traffic plied as usual.

With its headquarters at Maisuma, the JKLF had announced a march in the area today in memory of victims who were mowed down by paramilitary force with rifle and machine gun fire during a protest demonstration.

Nearly sixty people had been killed in the hail of bullets in one of the worst massacres of unarmed civilians during the onset of militancy in Kashmir.

Though the government today deployed large numbers of police and paramilitary personnel in the area where prohibitory orders under section 144 had been announced, JKLF chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik led a procession from his party office.  

A large number of people from various sections of society joined the march and held a rally near Nai Sarak.

Leaders and activists of the JKLF (R) also paid tribute to the massacre victims by offering fateha at the Basant Bagh cemetery.

Condolence meetings were also held by the Hurriyat (M) and the High Court Bar Association, reports said.  

Recently, the State Human Rights Commission has initiated a fresh probe into the Gaw Kadal massacre after petitions by local human rights organizations.

Though international HR groups had pressured the government to file a First Information Report (FIR) some weeks after the carnage, no credible investigations have been carried out, nor any security personnel held accountable even after over two decades.

According to reports, the police FIR into the case does not list all the fatalities, and names the victims as the accused, claiming that forces bunkers had come under attack from protestors. 

 

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