Shopian Killings.

Morning of 7th September, whole valley of Jammu and Kashmir was observing shut down following the call given by Hurriyet Conference the reason being the Zubin Mehta’s arrival in Srinagar. Invited by state of Jammu and Kashmir and promoted by the German embassy, had arrived to entertain the VVIP’s from India, Foreign states and Jammu and Kashmir. The chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir himself reiterated the fact that “organizing such an event in Jammu and Kashmir was his dream, and finally he had fulfilled his dream”. So just to make his dreams come true, that had no positive benefit to the state which must had been his priority, he wasted a 100 crores on the meaningless event at a period when state of Jammu and Kashmir is facing economic backwardness, joblessness, inefficient medical facilities, worst education system etc. In return, the heritage site Mughal Garden lost its charm after the state constructed a stage inside it.

To protest against such an unnecessary extravagance, the valley’s extremist groups had called for a strike. The whole valley was observing shut down on 07th of September. So was the situation in a South Kashmir district, Shopian that was standing shoulder by shoulder with the rest of the valley. Undergraduate exams were being conducted in the valley and some papers were scheduled on the same day according to the date sheet of the examination. Many students were moving towards the Government Degree College Gagren Shopian, where Under Graduate 1st year exam was being conducted. Adil Wachkoo, a local resident and a student of the Government degree college Gagren Shopian, asked his childhood friend Tawseef, also a local teenage boy, who was having a Pulsar Motorbike to ferry him to the Degree College as he had to appear in Islāmic Studies paper. Tawseef agreed and both moved towards Gagren Degree College.

On way to the College they were intercepted at the CRPF camp that is located in front of the college. Both of them were ordered to show their I-cards. When they reached outside the camp, there were three to four troopers on the road, and a few more on the roof of an under-construction shop. They ordered them to sit on road. They asked Tawseef to show the documents of the motorcycle. But Tawseef was not carrying documents with him. Another motorcycle with two persons on it were stopped. The CRPF men abused Tawseef and said to him that he didn’t looked 19 as the card said. Suddenly they started firing and both ran for their lives, but the CRPF men chased them and fired randomly. A Bihar resident who watched all this was also running and finally collapsed in the middle of the road. Tawseef and Adil saw the CRPF troopers fire a burst into his head, killing him instantly. Tawseef and Adil collapsed too, exhausted and bleeding. Everyone who watched this and the victims wondered what was going on and why? They were not able to understand as all this happened in a jiffy and without any provocation by anyone.

The lane was too long. Tawseef kept on asking whether they would survive. And Adil told him that they would live or die together. Soon the CRPF men were upon them, kicking viciously in the abdomen with their jackboots. Somehow Adil managed to ask Tawseef to turn over. But both had just gave up. Tawseef was only asking for water, and the kicking went on. The troopers had grabbed Adil. The commanding officer of the troopers had picked him up and taken him to a shop-front. Later Police arrived on the spot, they didn’t let them to take him. The SHO Shopian argued with them and he was taken to hospital. Not only Tawseef and the non local labourer was killed but two more were killed on the same day, same spot and same time. They were the other two men who were stopped by the CRPF troops at the same spot. One of them was Muhammad Yousuf of Durpora, Zainpora Shopian who was a labourer and the other one was from another South Kashmir District Kulgam  who dealt with apple business. As the news spread through out the town, the whole town started wailing and protesting. It was about 12:15 P.M. when the incident took place. At first many did not believed that Tawseef was martyred. The whole town thronged to the house of Tawseef to condole his sad demise. While everyone was busy in the funeral preparation of Tawseef, the Hypocrite Indian media and CRPF had declared all of them as Fidayeen Militants (Suicide Attackers). It later revised the story  to only two of the four killed being terrorists. The CRPF had placed some Chinese grenades and a pistol in the pockets of the non local laborer and claimed that he was a LeT militant namely Abdullah Haroon. But later in the evening the D.M Shopian said that out of the 4 who died, 3 were innocent civilians while the identity of the 4th was not ascertained. Till 4 P.M. the anger had reached the higher quantum and protesters had started their last resort in retaliation to such human rights abuses and war crimes i.e stone pelting. The people irrespective of their age and gender had come on roads to protest the killings. At around 5 P.M. the namaz-e-janaza of Tawseef was completed and was buried at around 5:30 P.M. After the burial, protests gained more momentum. People started chanting anti-indian slogans and pro-Tawseef and Martyrs slogans till late night. The protesters also demanded that the other dead bodies be also handed over to them but the police did not paid heed and retained the bodies at the district police lines Shopian, till 8th September morning. The other bodies of the innocent civilians from Durpora and Kulgam were handed over to their kins secretly and were forced to take them to their respective villages immediately and were directed not to stop at Shopian town.

Till 9 A.M. on 8th September, whole area had come to know that the other 2 bodies were handed over to their kins, secretly. But the one unknown non local was retained in District Police line Shopian and was later buried in a near-by village by Policemen. The protests had started early in the morning but the authorities had put the whole area under strict curfew. Not allowing the people to mourn the death of their beloved brother. The Curfew tactics that they have used in past as well to suppress the voices and hide and save the culprits. On the consecutive days 09th and 10th protests continued despite strict curfew. People tried to defy curfew on each day. It is on 11th of September one more innocent civilian was killed. He was a Driver by profession, a resident of Saidpora village of Shopian District and had been to Shopian town to visit his ailing 4 month old daughter who was with her mother’s inlaws’ home along with her mother. He was also killed at the same place by the same 14th battalion of CRPF at Gagren. Later, on the consecutive days many politicians and top brass police officials visited the town.

Former Minister and Ex-MLA Shopian, Hassan Khan also reiterated that all those who were killed in CRPF firing at Shopian were civilians. He said that the one whom CRPF claims to be a Militant was a non local laborer and not any militant. The same facts that the locals are saying.

It is 20th of September, 2013 13th continuous day of siege [curfew] seems not to end anywhere. The curfew continues to haunt the Shopian town and has made the life of its residents paralyzed. The town sans the basic amenities viz baby food, medicines etc. First they kill us and then force us to remain silent. They are literally on war with us. But the rest of the valley is busy enjoying the beauty of Mughal Gardens, the breeze of Dal and music. It is the right time to do self introspection. Do it now!

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