SRINAGAR: The All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC) has expressed dismay over the delay in justice to the families of 35 Sikh families who were killed at Chattisinghpora in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district on March 20, 2000.
On the evening of 20 March 2000, 15–17 unidentified gunmen, dressed in Indian army fatigues, entered the village of Chattisinghpora, located in Anantnag district. They ordered all of the Sikh men and boys to assemble at the village Gurdwara, and systematically shot and killed 34 of them. Many others were injured in the attack, and least one man later died of his injuries.
The massacre, which took place on the eve of U.S. President Bill Clinton’s visit to the Subcontinent, was widely condemned by both the Indian and Pakistani Governments, as well as the leaders of the Kashmiri separatist movement.
In a statement, APSCC Chairman Jagmohan Singh Raina said that although 19 years have passed no headway whatsoever has been made in the case. He said the delay in justice has led to disillusionment among the members of Sikh community.
“Total 50 people were killed in Chattisinghpora episode. It is important that justice is delivered to the victim families. At the same time investigations need to be carried out in the sequence of events that unfolded later on as 15 more persons belonging to majority community were also killed in the aftermath of the Chattisinghpora massacre,” stated the APSCC Chairman.
Jagmohan Singh (pictured below) said that since the locals countered the claims of government that it has killed five militants involved in the killing of 35 Sikhs, it is imperative that the whole incident is probed in a professional manner so that culprits are brought to book and justice is delivered to the affected families.
Security agencies investigating are always dubious this is known to every common Indian, that they work under influence. If Government of India seems interested in solving the Chittinsinghpora they should conduct an inquiry which is impartial and lead by some independent body so that truth is in front of everyone and especially Sikhs living in the valley.
He also expressed his sympathies to the families of persons who were killed in firing of security forces at Brakpora who were protesting against the fake encounter. He said that government should take up the probe in a forceful manner so that the real picture comes to the fore and people heave a sigh of relief.
“Justice Pandian who was asked to probe the incident in his report said that the five persons claimed to be militants by the security agencies were actually innocent residents of Brakpora. Their bodies were burnt and hastily buried in a nearby village. Since the whole episode has come under a cloud it is important to hold the probe in a transparent manner without any prejudice or bias,” said the APSCC Chairman.
“The police have so far failed to produce any hard evidence that the persons killed in the fake encounter were involved in the killing of Sikhs at Chattisinghpora. The committee formed by the government to find out the culprits, has failed to solve the mystery. We urge both the state and central government to go for fresh probe in the killings of Sikhs and make the things clear. Pandian Commission should be allowed to further investigate the incident as Brakpora and Chattisinghpora cases are interlinked,” said Jagmohan Singh.