6 January 1993 – Remembering Smouldering Sopore

It was the morning of Wednesday 6th of January 1993. A group of JKLF militants appeared from baba Yusuf Lane in Sopore and attacked a Border Security Force (BSF) patrol party resulting in the death of a soldier. Militants also snatched his weapon and escaped. 

Seething with anger and caught in panic BSF personnel fired indiscriminately. Passersby were hit. Some irate personnel set fire to homes and businesses. Official estimates later said 55 civilians were killed in the hours of mayhem let loose by the BSF personnel. 

Some shopkeepers were not even allowed to come out and they were burned alive inside shops. 

Tim McGirk reported in London based newspaper the Independent on 8th January 1993 that “The Border Security Forces sprayed a public coach with machine-gun fire, killing the driver and more than 15 civilians. Three other cars were also fired on, and then the paramilitary forces set the vehicles ablaze. Next, they began herding the native Kashmiris into shops and houses, said witnesses. Then the security forces shot them, splashed paraffin over the bodies and set the buildings alight.”

In all, government reports state that 250 shops and 50 homes were burned down although other sources claim as many as 450 buildings were burned down by the forces.

Sopore massacre marks one of the horrific tragedies in recent Kashmir history.

In a civilised world the perpetrators of such a heinous crime would have faced justice by now. Alas! it never was the case in Kashmir.

But what we know a few jawans were suspended by the authorities of the time. Only suspended!? Was our blood worth only that?

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