Bodies of victims killed in Chattisighpora massacre – Image courtesy: Sikh Siyasat
I was 46 years old in 2000. I was a government employee in Animal Husbandry Department. I remember that night, while coming out from the Gurdwara we saw some uniformed men with faces covered running in our streets.
They asked us to remain there as they were conducting a search operation in the area. Some of them had already entered into the houses and had called some of the male members out. They told us they just want to talk to us. I was living near the Gurdwara and they had asked some of my family members also to come out. In total we were 19 people standing in a line. I remember they asked us ‘do you play Holi’ as next day it was the Holi festival. We told them it is not our festival so we don’t celebrate it. Then they asked ‘do you want to drink wine’, they were carrying alcohol bottles with them.
I remember they were calling a man as ‘CO Sahab’, who instructed them to check our identity cards and then let us go. They asked us to show our identity cards and with that that CO opened a fire in air and with him started the other uniformed men. They fired a barrage of bullets on each one of us but before that they asked us to face the wall of the Gurdwara so to fire at us from the back. We all fell on the ground but luckily every bullet targeting me just pierced through my pheran (I have preserved that pheran). I was lying among the bodies. They shot around 15 bullets on each body.
After the shootout the CO asked his men to see if anyone among us was still breathing then shoot another bullet. Then they checked with torch lights and shot single bullets again. Ironically, this time a bullet hit which fracturing my right hip. I still managed to remain silent. Then, I put my hand on the wound which was bleeding profusely. They were about to leave by then and they were laughing loudly. They were calling each other with the names Pawan, Bansi, Bahadur and then finally they left while shouting ‘Jai Hind’. In that incident I lost my son, brother, four cousins and uncle.
As they left I started shouting for water, then after 15 minutes people came out of their houses and asked me what happened. I was the only survivor. My cousin was also lying among the bodies but he was still breathing. Our neighbors lifted us to home where my cousin succumbed to his injuries. Then three youths, who were my friends, went to inform the concerned police station at Mattan 8kms away. The SHO, Mohammad Ishaq came at about 1a.m, arranged a vehicle and shifted me to the SMHS in Srinagar. I am very grateful to him that he saved me but I am very angry with the state government that they never promoted him from sub inspector post. I feel he wasn’t given any promotion because he helped me to survive and in the longer run helped our community when no one else was available for us. After treatment of 24 days in Army hospital I was shifted to Amritsar hospital where I was operated upon twice and they replaced my hip joint. From Amritsar I went to Jammu where some parties came to meet me and they advised me to live in Jammu. I came back to Kashmir. The whole massacre was a conspiracy to show the president of US what is happening in Kashmir.
Presently I am working in the civil secretariat so I live in Jammu as well as in Srinagar but still I prefer to live outside the valley. I don’t feel safe for which I have talked to state as well as central government. I feel somewhere something wrong has happened, as the probe has not yet begun. That night is still haunts me. That incident changed everything for our family. On one side they are saying we are a democratic country and on the other they kill innocent people. I think if there would be a war between India and Pakistan they won’t use those many bullets which they used to kill our men.
(As told to SAIMA BHAT)