23rd Anniversary of Sopore Massacre: The Survivors Continue to Struggle, Remember

KL NEWS NETWORK

SRINAGAR

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A man wailing over the killing of his relative in Sopore massacre 1993.

23 years after the Sopore massacre on January 6, 1993, the legal proceedings stand suspended as there exists no will to allow processes of justice to proceed despite overwhelming evidence indicting personnel of the BSF, Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCA) said Tuesday.

On 6 January 1993, personnel of the 94th Battalion, BSF carried out an attack in Sopore town that led to the killing of more than 50 civilians, scores of injured, and destruction of more than 500 shops and 20-25 houses. The Sopore chowk area was burnt down including the roadside areas of: Shahabad, Bobimir Sahab, Muslim Peer, Shallapora and Kralteng. Further, Samad Talkies, and the women’s college located near the Sopore chowk were also burnt.

“The CBI took more than 20 years to investigate the case, only to seek closure of investigations on 4 December 2013,” said Khurram Parvez, JKCCA spokesperson in a statement. “The case was listed before the TADA court. On 28 June 2014 the survivors of the massacre filed a protest petition against the closure report filed by the CBI. The protest petition – seeking further investigations in the case – was a contestation of the States lies and attempts to cover up the massacre. Following numerous delays, often due to the non-appearance of the CBI, the matter now stands completely suspended following the replacement of the earlier TADA court judge in July 2015. As of the last date of hearing, the new judge has yet to be formally assigned the powers to proceed with matters before him.”

Therefore, he said, 23 years after the massacre, the entire investigation record is now finally before a court. “But, the judge has yet to be formally empowered to deal with the case. Separately, the CBI has repeatedly sought to delay proceedings and has taken the position, contrary to law, that the survivors do not have any right to access court documents or participate in the proceedings before the court.”

The proceedings in the Sopore case once again remind us, the JKCCA spokesperson said, that there exists no will to provide justice in Jammu and Kashmir for crimes committed by State forces. “Government of Jammu and Kashmir, Government of India and various functionaries, such as the CBI, collude to delay proceedings, obfuscate the truth, frustrate survivors and victim families and ensure impunity.”

Yet, he said, the survivors continue to struggle and remember.

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