Forces responsible for Kashmir massacres must be punished: Wajahat

Srinagar: On the eve of 26th anniversary of Gawkadal massacre, former Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Wajahat Habibullah impressed upon the Government of India to bring the killers to justice so that no government gunman can dare to play with the lives of innocent civilians in Kashmir Valley. 

“Besides Gawkadal massacre, other massacres also took place in Kashmir and it is the high time to initiate action against the guilty Indian Security Forces,” local news agency, CNS, quoted Wajahat Habibullah as having said.  

“Action should be not only initiated against the Indian Security Forces but also against those government gunmen that resorted to loot, killing and arson in the Valley,” Wajahat Habibullah told Srinagar based news gathering agency CNS adding that militants too inflicted atrocities on the people of Kashmir.

The former Divisional Commissioner said that he was not present in Valley when CRPF fired upon a crowd at Gawkadal on January 21, 1990 killing at least 52 innocent people. “It is high time to punish killers for the satisfaction and justice of the people. The situation in Kashmir is different now and there is no reason to shield those men in uniform who committed this (Gow Kadal massacre) heinous crime in Kashmir,” he said.

Wajahat Habibullah said that there is a dire need to set up the ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission’ to look into human rights violations. He said that former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had mooted the idea of setting up of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the state in the context of human rights violations, but later on shelved the process. I had been repeatedly advising State Government to set up this Commission so that guilty will face the music.”

Wajahat Habibullah, a former civil servant from the Indian Administrative Service, has spent much of his career in Jammu and Kashmir, most of it in the Kashmir Valley. He has also served on the staff of two Indian prime ministers—Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi—and held the post of minister in the Embassy of India, Washington DC.

He is the author of the book “My Kashmir” in which lays out the intricate web of issues at the root of the conflict: ethnicity, religion, national identity, friction between national and local government, and territory.

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