Srinagar: Even after 29 years have passed since Border Security Forces (BSF) men killed five civilians and took away the dead body of one of them and never returned the same to his family, justice is still eluding the victim families of the Ajas village of North Kashmir’s Bandipora district.
Recalling the fateful day of February 1, 1992, locals say the memories still haunt them when paramilitary troops of BSF opened fire on civilians killing 6 of them while injuring dozens of others.
It was Mehraj-e-Alam Day (Birthday of Prophet Mohammad). The troops of BSF came and announced a crackdown in the area using the public address system of the local mosque. Locals said it was cold and people were offering special prayers in mosques since the previous night.
They said the elders of the village requested BSF men not to lay siege in the village owing to Mehraj-e-Alam. However, BSF troops refused and asked people to assemble in a local ground and abused the elders.
They said the people resisted and refused to assemble according to their diktat and instead carried out a peaceful protest march foiling their attempt.
“Our refusal to accept their diktat infuriated the BSF officers who first left the village and then returned with more forces and fired indiscriminately,” said one of the eyewitnesses.
“They started beating and dragged us to the lawns of Jamia Masjid as they had planned to kill us,“ an eyewitnesses recounted amid tears.
“After that, an officer came to the lawns, opened his pistol and fired from point blank range, killing six persons, and ordered his men to fire indiscriminately in which more than a dozen got injured,” he added.
He alleged that after the incident, BSF took one government employee, Wali Rehman Khan, with them and later killed him under custody and even denied his body.
Pertinently, in 2019, President International Forum for Justice and Human Rights (IFJHR), Mohammad Ahsan Untoo, had filed a petition before the State Human Rights Commission seeking identification of guilty forces personnel and ex-gratia to next of kin of slain.
Untoo had then said that because of the non-cooperation of police, the probe remained hanging since 1992. (KDC)