Thirty-one years ago on June 11, 1991 the Indian occupation forces opened indiscriminate fire and killed 32 innocent Kashmiris including women and children during the Chotta Bazaar massacre in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). The gory incident is one of the bloodiest massacres in the territory.
Despite repeated demands of judicial inquiry, the victims and their families are still awaiting justice. The Indian paramilitary CRPF troops on a false pretext of clash with unknown attackers at Zainakadal in Srinagar went berserk, and opened indiscriminate firing with their automatic weapons all the way from their camp at Syed Mansoor to the densely populated downtown area of Chotta Bazaar.
The Indian troops barged into the shops, gathered people outside on the streets and killed them randomly. Four people were shot in a motor mechanics’ workshop and four others were shot outside a medical college. Some rickshaw drivers and bystanders were also shot by the troops.
The indiscriminate firing by the forces’ personnel took a massive toll of 32 lives of innocent civilians. Around 22 persons were also critically injured in the incident. The bullets hit shopkeepers, passerby, a 75-year old woman and a child of ten years age.
India continues to brutalize the defenseless Kashmiris in IIOJK through extra-judicial killings in fake “encounters” and staged “cordon-and-search” operations, custodial torture and imposition of collective punishment.
However, these atrocities cannot break the will of the Kashmiri people in their just struggle for the inalienable right to self-determination as enshrined in the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions.
Pakistan had urged the international community to hold India accountable for its grave human rights violations in the occupied territory, which warrant investigations under international scrutiny to bring the perpetrators of these serious crimes to justice.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) had also in its reports of 2018 and 2019 recommended the establishment of Commission of Inquiry (COI) to investigate gross and systematic human rights violations in IIOJK.
India is the largest violator of human rights. From Kashmir to mainland India, minorities rights violated under the patronage of Indian state. India disrespected international law and international norms and become a threat to regional peace.
India had become an apartheid state where human rights and “equality” have become a distant idea.
The western powers, which often claim to be the champions of human rights, have failed to hold India accountable for its bad human right record because of their vested interests.
The history of IIOJK is littered with many Chotta Bazaar like carnages as Indian troops have carried out dozens of massacres in IIOJK since 1990. The aim of committing Chotta Bazaar like carnages is to instill fear among the Kashmiris. Massacres in IIOJK are ugly blots on the face of so-called Indian democracy and the international community must take notice of Kashmiris’ genocide by India. Bold and resilient Kashmiris are determined to carry on the freedom struggle against all odds and the unparalleled sacrifices of the Kashmiri people will never go waste.