Kashmiris Await Justice for Srinagar’s Chota Bazar Massacre

Indian troops move through the streets of Occupied Kashmir.

The history of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, IIOJK,  is full of atrocities and fake encounters by Indian security forces including Chota Bazar which tells a horrendous story of violence carried out by the Indian forces.

On June 11, 1991, the Indian security forces after an alleged clash with unknown attackers in the Zaina Kadal area of Srinagar, opened indiscriminate fire and killed 32 innocent Kashmiris including women and children and around 22 persons were also critically injured in the incident. This incident still causes a deep stir inside the hearts of the scores of bereaved families whose kiths and kins were massacred. Thirty years on, the memories of the Chota Bazaar massacre are still fresh in the Kashmiris’ minds and the victims are still awaiting justice.

The aim of committing Chita Bazaar instills fear among the Kashmiris. These massacres are ugly stains made by ink on the face of the so-called Indian democracy and the international community must take notice of the Kashmiris’ genocide by India.

Even today, the resilient Kashmiris are determined to carry on the freedom struggle against all troubles.

Hardly a day goes by when Kashmiris are not targeted for showing resistance to the Indian illegal occupation. This incident poses a question on the credibility of the human rights organizations which maintain their silence on India’s mass destruction policy in IIOJK.

Indian security forces are killing Kashmiri youth in the name of terrorist encounters. On 18 July 2020 three youth, all labourers, hailing from the Rajouri district of the Jammu region were martyred by the troops in the Shopian district and labelled as “terrorists”. After that Indian Army posted pictures of the martyred youth on social media, which raised doubts about the Army’s claim, leading to strong demand for an investigation of the killings by international human rights organizations.

This incident pushed the Indian Army to constitute a Court of Inquiry which found evidence that the troops had “exceeded” powers vested under the draconian law Armed Forces Special Powers Act and killed innocent youth in a fake encounter.

People in India may talk about the military court ruling being a matter of law, procedure, or how the system operates, but the fact of the matter is that to the citizens of Kashmir, it does not make any difference. For them, the military, the judiciary, and the government of India are one and the same thing, different faces of the same aggressor.

Chota Bazar and other such incidents of extra judicial killings of Kashmiris constitute an act of brutal aggression. India may appear as a democracy to outsiders, but to those whose kin are spent as fuel for the dirty war in Kashmir, it only appears like one thing: a ruthless empire.

Chota Bazar incident has entered the top long list of stark reminders of that black decade, in Kashmir’s history, and of the total impunity the perpetrators of these crimes enjoy under the dark law AFSPA, Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

Many times, several civil society & human rights groups raised their voices in the support of victims’ families of the Chota Bazar incident, but international communities should take notice of this massacre because 30 years on, Kashmiris await justice.

By Shahbaz Ali