The Bijbehara Massacre – Narrated by Survivors

Video By: Rayees Ahmed
Article By: Sajad Rasool

On 22nd October 1993, 43 civilians were shot dead by Indian forces (Border Security Forces) in Bijbehara town of Kashmir. After the Friday prayers, people took to the streets to protest the continued siege of Hazratbal shrine Srinagar which was led by Indian forces. The shrine was put under siege after militants had taken over it. In March 1994 the government of India indicted the Border Security Force (BSF) for firing into the crowd “without provocation” and charged 13 BSF officers with murder. A nonpublic General Security Force Court trial conducted in 1996 led to their acquittal.

When India’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) sought to examine the transcripts of the trials in order to satisfy itself that the BSF had made a genuine attempt to secure convictions, the Vajpayee government refused. The NHRC then moved the Supreme Court for a review. In September 2000, the NHRC dismissed the case.

Various survivors of this massacre narrate the ordeal of the day, usually referred to as Bijbehara massacre. Most of them live with disabilities now. According to the local news reports, Indian and International media was not allowed by the govt to visit the town after this incident happened.

Ali Mohammad Tak, an 80-year-old survivor calls the day as ‘the unfortunate and brutal day’ he has witnessed in his life. He further mentions, the people were chanting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans and an end to the siege on Hazratbal shrine, reacting to this – the army opened fire without any provocation on peaceful protestors and killed scores and hundreds were left maimed and injured.

Every survivor of this massacre strongly believes that India has illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir and the dispute must be resolved to avoid further killings and massacres in the future. According to these survivors speaking in the video, the promise of a plebiscite is guaranteed under resolutions of United Nations. Every year, the day is observed as Bijbehara Massacre day, and people in protest observe a complete shutdown on this day supported by the pro-freedom political parties of J&K.

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