RIYAZ UL KHALIQ
The Sailan Massacre report was Sunday afternoon released by three survivors at JKCCS office here on its 16 anniversary. The 54 page report documents the whole massacre perpetrated by men in uniform in Sailan, Surankote in Poonch district of Jammu region in the intervening night of 3-4 August, 1998.
Nineteen persons were killed including 13 children and women among whom one was pregnant. No one has been tried in the case so far.
On the occasion, the survivors narrated the whole episode with tearful eyes. Pertinently, this is for the first time that any eye witness of the massacre has spoken to audience.
“After seven days of the massacre, CM Farooq Abdullah came to see us,” Latif Ahmad, whose six family members were killed, said adding, “he as ked us to tell him the real truth as who had killed their dear ones.”
Latif, in his late forties, then worked in Saudi Arabia and had come home just three days ago. As the situation in the area was not good, Latif said, “My mother sent me to my relative’s home as army had unleashed terror in the area.”
On August 3, Latif’s maternal cousin, Imtiyaz who was a militant had killed Zakir Hussain. “Zakir was an important man of 9 Paratroopers. He was their source of information,” Latif said.
Imtiyaz, Latif said was in class ninth when he was handed over to police as he was involved in militancy related cases. “We don’t know what happened to him afterwards,” the survivors said, three are close relatives as well.
They said, “Whether he fled from police lock up or was let free, we don’t knew about him.” “But when Imtiyaz killed Zakir on August 3 army men came and announced in day light that they shall take revenge of the Zakir’s killing from his family,” Shabir Ahmad, Latif’s brother said. “Army went to Zakir’s father and categorically told him that they shall kill at least a dozen of Imtiyaz’s family.”
“There was a cry in the area that Imtiyaz’s family will be killed in the night so they came to our home as we are close relatives,” Abdul Ahad, another survivor said.
“In the late evening someone knocked at the door and when we opened it, army men of 9 Paratroopers came in. Some were in the civils also,” he continued.
“They enquired about the Imtiyaz and we replied that we know nothing about him,” he further said. “And they caught hold of Imtiyaz’s father. After thrashing and beating him ruthlessly fired and killed him on the spot,” his nephew Shabir said. “Within no time when they saw all family members holding and wailing over Imtiyaz’s father, Indian army fired indiscriminately,” he said. “I fled from the spot.” Abdul Ahad said that he lived nomads for three days. Latif was at his relatives’ home for the night.
Shabir came early morning next day that is on August 4. “I found my father’s dead body with his right hand cut,” emotional Shabir narrated the event. “His pat on my back was gone!”
Next, Shabir said he saw a baby’s hand out of her mother’s abdomen. “She was my elder sister who was pregnant,” he said.
Shabir said that he could not hold himself and felt unconscious.”I asked Sarpanch to count them but nobody could.”
The survivors said that no one was allowed to carry the dead bodies. They were trying to bury the whole matter then and there,” he said.
The next step and Shabir’s sky fell on him. “I found axe stuck in my seven years old sister’s back,” he said. “I was motionless.” Shabir’s four sisters, father and mother were killed by the army.
Latif said that when CM Farooq came, he replied to his query, “Your dreaded men have done all this to us!”
He said and asked former CM to tell them what happened to the justice he had promised.
Human Rights Lawyer and activist Shrimoyee Nandanini Ghosh, who associated with JKCCS in compiling the report, detailed about the case in the beginning.