22 Unarmed Protesters Were Killed in Gow Kadal Massacre: SHRC

Srinagar: Twenty six years after the Gow Kadal massacre, the government has admitted that twenty two unarmed protestors were killed while as only 12 sustained injuries in the massacre.

The government’s reply has come in response to a petition filed by human rights activist Ahsan Untoo before the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) in April 2012.

Notably, after the petition filed by Untoo, the SHRC had appointed Superintendent of Police (SP) SHRC on 26-12-2012 to investigate the matter. The investigation continued for 51 months. 

The SHRC report available with Kashmir News Service (KNS) reveals, “The report received from Police Hospital Srinagar and other hospital records have given the number of dead in the incident as 22 and injured as 12.”

The report further reads that a case under FIR 3/1990 under section 147, 188, 153, 307 etc had been lodged in the incident at Police Station Kral Khud, but even after an interminable delay of eight years the case was closed as untraced in the year 1998 and the final report has not been submitted to the courts for judicial determination.

“As per the report from DC Srinagar, an exgratia benefit of Rs 25,000 each as per the rate of applicable at that time of incident as per government order no 145/R/520-523/AC dated 26-07-1990, has been sanctioned and provided in favour of NOK’s of only 06 deceased in the incident,” the report reads.

It further reads that there are contradictory versions by the authorities as to whether curfew orders had been in imposition or not. “The Director General of Police JK in his report has acknowledged that curfew had been imposed (as also borne out by the FIR), but the authorities have failed to identify the Magistrate detailed on the concerned day to Gow Kadal area. This is a serious matter, if police version is to be given credence that the mob had turned violent, it is imperative to ask as to who functioned as magistrate and gave orders to open fire,” the report adds.

The report said that the however, no official order or confirmation, despite DGP’s averment could be produced by the concerned to corroborate that curfew had been in place or any credible explanation provided as to why it is not known that who conducted the duties of Magistrate on that date, in Gow Kadal locality.

Meanwhile, SHRC in their report said, “The District Administration may be asked to identify all the victims and suitable benefits admissible under rules be extended to them as apparently records obtaining in the offices of the district administration are not up to speed and the responsible officials be rendered to account. As the officials of the district administration have been unjustifiably parsimonious in the sharing of information in the instant matter,”

The report also said that the district police administration may be asked to explain to why does the matter continue to hang fire and what action has been taken, if any against the then SHO whose criminal recklessness has been highlighted by the IO’s of the case at different places in their case diaries.

“It is pertinent to mention that timely, effective and professional investigation of the case in the earlier stages would have served the cause of justice. Also the officer alleged against in the complaint namely Alla Baksh (the then SP Srinagar) has already passed away,” the report reads.

The reports adds that after lapse of more than 26 years, the investigation agencies have failed to establish individual/joint responsibility of security forces involved in the Gow Kadal firing incident of 21 Jan, 1990.

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