When sky dropped all its veils to wail unpardonable sin
19 years on and the justice still nowhere
Off to Chattisinghpora a hamlet in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, a 30-minute drive, from Anantnag town. Earlier on I had a conversation with my friend who had an assignment there, and we fixed a date for having a visit to this village. We met at Anantnag town, and boarded a cab whose board reads as ‘Singh Nard”. And the cab went through paddy and apple orchard trees with a side view of a mountain, and yet to bloom small trees.
On reaching to this remote hamlet called Chattisinghpora which came into limelight after a bloodbath on 20th of March 2000. Commonly known as ‘Chattisinghpora massacre’ in which 35 Sikhs were killed.
We met with one of the eye witness lady, whose husband and brother-in-law were killed on that day. ‘It was 7.20 PM and we happily had a gossip at home, when surprisingly some gunmen wearing army fatigue and were having different boots, came and asked our men to assemble near the temple. After some minutes we heard gunshots when we rushed to the spot we saw all our dreams have been shattered. It was blood everywhere, unforgettable even after 19 years’ she told me. My husband had gone to meet his relative a few meters away from our home, unfortunately, at the same time this happened and he too was killed there, in a brutal way, another victim lady told me.
I was curious to see this place where this brutality had happened when I was only 4-years three months and twenty days old. 19-years of justice delayed in this case and the days continued to count. For me it was very hard to see the victims there, I hardly controlled my emotions. A lady who lost her husband after speaking to us went to the next room and after a few minutes, she came back with a tea. She had emotions high after having a word with us, yet she was having a slightly smiley face after I tried to have a joke on something. All those we met there, and who had witnessed this bloodbath, narrated tearful tales. I failed to write all of them, being emotionally charged.
We went to the spot where this massacre took place; actually, it took place at two different locations of the same village. First place is outside of a known Gurudwara. We saw bullet marks on the wall which were fired on that day are still visible and now been circled with yellow colour. At this place, 18 Sikhs were killed. Next place in few wards down to the village, there too are bullet marks, now coloured with yellow. And a board which reads the details of massacre and names of 17 Sikhs killed. The names have been arranged as per age of the killed persons here; from eldest 48-years to the youngest 15-year boy.
This massacre left behind not only 35 families but their relatives, friends, and dear once as victims. Some are doing private jobs outside, some are studying and rest are waiting for the government jobs. But, all they say is “justice”. Justice, for which they are waiting from the last 19 years and they say will wait till the last breath of life. Losing dear once in this way, and coping up with the pain, agony, and sufferings is very difficult. Now you see the government apathy, they haven’t done anything for us, for justice and peace to prevail in ourselves, said a local youth of the same village. We observe an anniversary on 19th, 20th and 2Ist of March to commemorate the massacre and to pay homage to the martyrs.
Kashmir has seen many such massacres, and in most cases, the perpetrators are known but in this case, no tanzeem has taken responsibility, and in this way all we demand is to know who did this, justice with us and punishment to the killers, she further told me.
Author is a student activist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org