‘Nadimarg Massacre ‘Handiwork’ of Professional Killer’

Srinagar: Justice has been eluding the survivors of Nadimarg massacre from past thirteen years. It was on the night of March 23, 2003 when unidentified armed men butchered 24 Kashmiri Pandits including 11 females and 2 toddlers.

Nadimarg, a village in South Kashmir’s Shopian district made headlines in 2003 after this gory massacre. Though authorities claimed that four armed men were responsible for the incident, among which three later on died in different encounters while the fourth one, a Pakistani militant Zia Mustafa was arrested and is languishing in Central Jail Srinagar.

Advocate Mubashir Ahmed Ghutoo, the Counsel for Pakistani militant Zia Mustafa informed CNS that State has miserably failed to produce any witnesses against his client. He said that the trial has been over and Court was ready to pronounce its judgment, however, State moved to Supreme Court that directed High Court to reconsider the prayers of the State that wishes to re-examine the witnesses afresh. “As a lawyer I can say that Court will acquit my client Mustafa Zia,” he said.

Activist Sanjay Tickoo who heads Kashmir Sangharash Smiti believes that Nadimarg killers were “experts and professionals” who might have been 24 in number. “It is still a mystery who butchered the 24 Kashmiri Pandits in Nadimarg but after my visit there it became evident that killers were professional and they were not four in number,” he said.

“Shortly after the massacre, I rushed to Nadimarg and applied in what Kashmiri is called “sinder” (vermillion) on the faces of the victims to hide their bullet marks, before helping with the last rites. What I observed stunned me. The killers had pumped bullets from head to chin of the victims. Not a single bullet was fired upon the victims down the chin. This made it clear that killers were professional,” he said adding that after killing the innocent people, the killers even barged into the houses and looted money and ornaments from there,” Tickoo said adding that State failed to nab or identify the killers.

Rahul Pandita, who has written a book: Our Moon has Blood Clots has quoted a lone Pandit survivor of the massacre as saying “the terrorists were accompanied by some policemen who guided them towards our houses”. However, Sanjay Tickoo says that policemen were only three in number while rest had gone to meet their family members. “When armed men entered into the village, policemen were busy playing cards and they were disarmed by the assailants. It is incorrect to say that policemen guided the assailants towards the houses of the Pandits,” Sanjay Tickoo said.

Human Rights activist Khuram Parvez said, “these deceased Pandits had chosen not to migrate in 1990 and had a very cordial relationship with local civilians and militants as well. Few days before the massacre, some Kashmiri Pandit representatives had sought police protection for places like Nadimarg, which was refused by the then Director General of Police, A K Suri. We demand a credible investigation which will enable prosecution of the perpetrators responsible for this gory massacre.”

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