Gaw Kadal Massacre: Lest We Forget

Courtesy: Bloodied Rivers of Kashmir

On January 20, 1990 Jagmohan’s first address as governor stunned everybody. It was provocative. He said:” I have come as a nurse. I will not take any salary. I will just take rupees 1000 to meet my personal expenses. I have promise you a clean administration. But if anybody creates a law and order problem, Meray Haathon say Aman ka patta Khisak jaye ga (the cards of peace I’m carrying will slip away from my hands).
It was clear warning to the people of Kashmir. And in less than 24-hours the threat was carried out.

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It was January 21, 1990. The whole city was under curfew, massive search operations were going on in Srinagar city by Indian occupational forces to trace down the Militants. Shocking news spread all over. Many women had been molested and arrest of nearly 400 hundred people sent shock waves through Srinagar. Young and old came out to register their protest.
Allah-o-Akbar Kabeeran Cabrera (Allah is great; greater than the greatest).This slogan was chanted across Srinagar that evening. People gathered to protest against the incident.

In the meantime the peaceful protestors from various areas of Srinagar had reached Maisuma, shouting slogans. As the protestors reached the Gawkadal Bridge, the procession was intercepted by a party of J&K police and CRPF led by the notorious Deputy Superintendant of Police Allah Baksh. The men in uniform opened fire without any provocation. The fearful protestors scattered everywhere, and they were making their way through lanes, CPRF men were chasing the protesters.

Those who could not escape were shot, not sparing single man alive. “I had walked amid women thinking that they would not fire on them but CRPF men did not spare them too. Those who were just injured were again shot in head by the CRPF officer to make sure to kill them,” recollects Farooq Ahmad a survivor of the mayhem.

While everyone was running, people saw something that had never happened in Kashmir before. A CRPF trooper with a light machine gun (LMG) was firing indiscriminately on the unarmed people. Young boy Abdul Rauf Wani went to him and tried to snatch his gun. The trooper sensing danger emptied the entire magazine in to his chest. Rauf fell in a pool of blood, but not before he saved many lives of his brethren. Salute to this unsung Hero!

52 people were martyred and 250 sustained bullet injuries. As usual the official death was put to ‘21’. Police registered an FIR (NO.3/90) at police station Kralkhud against atrocious mob. But it makes no mention of the police and CRPF action.
21 years on, the case has been closed and he culprits have been declared ‘untraceable’.