Gawkadal Massacre Anniversary: Srinagar Observes Shutdown

SRINAGAR, Jan 21: A complete shutdown was observed in Lal Chowk and its adjacent areas as a tribute to the martyrs of Gawkadal massacre which took place on this day in 1990.
52 civilians including women and children were killed at the hands of paramilitary CRPF personnel when thousands of people took to the roads and started marching towards old city via Gawkadal to protest the alleged molestation of women and arrest of hundreds of people, mostly youth by troops during door to door searches.
The incident is considered to be one of the major massacres during the present turmoil. The incident took place a day after the Government of India appointed Jagmohan as the Governor of the state in a bid to control mass protests across the Kashmir valley.
All the shops and business establishments remained closed as a mark of protest at Lal Chowk, Maisuma, Gawkadal, Koker Bazar and Basantbagh. However, traffic plied normally on roads throughout the day.
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik led a rally to Gawkadal against the killings. The protest rally was also led by Javid Ahmad Mir and Bashir Ahmad Bhat and other separatist leaders.
Another procession, lead by Hilal Ahmad War of Peoples Political Party too marched on the streets protesting against the massacre. However both the protests ended peacefully.
State government had made extraordinary security measures at Gowkadal and its adjoining areas to prevent any clash between the youth and the cops. A large number of police and CRPF personnel were deployed in the area apart from mobile bunkers created by the forces to prevent protest towards Lal Chowk.
Chairman Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), while addressing the people said that January 21, 1990, has a special place in the 5000 year recorded history of Kashmir. It was on this day that Kashmiris took bullets on their chests to give freedom movement a new direction. They gave their blood to get the Kashmir issue out of cold storage.
He also said that “52 people were killed and hundreds injured in Gawkadal massacre. There is no place in Kashmir where such massacres did not occur. I question India that has your military might succeeded in suppressing the Kashmir freedom struggle? No it is not over, it will continue and will remain till Kashmir is completely free from your clutches,” he claimed.
Syed Ali Shah Geelani while paying tributes to martyrs of Gawkadal, Handwara and Kupwara said people will never forget these sacrifices as they protested against brutal killing of innocents.
Geelani has also appealed to international bodies urged them to investigate the gruesome incidents and carnages and take action against those forces involved in the alleged war crimes as per norms and law.
“We wish that our demand regarding self-determination be accorded due regard and people be provided an opportunity to express their aspiration with regard to their political destiny and future,” the senior Hurriyat leader said.
He also said that every nook and corner of the territory was soaked with the blood of martyrs and the massacres in Jammu, Handwara, Kupwara, Bijbehara and Sopore as well as the rape incidents of Kunan Poshpora and Shopian were witness to the fact that Indian forces were doing all this only to suppress the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq while paying tributes to the martyrs said that the sacrifices of Kashmiri martyrs had highlighted the Kashmir dispute at the international level and their blood would not be allowed to go waste.
He also said that the sacrifices of martyrs would definitely bring positive results and the mission of martyrs would be accomplished at all costs.
“The Indian troops martyred innocent Kashmiris at Gawkadal only because they were demanding their right to self-determination and were peacefully protesting against the Indian state terrorism in the territory,” he said.
Paying rich tributes to the January martyrs, separatist leader, Javed Ahmad Mir, in a statement in Srinagar said, “We have not forgotten their sacrifices and their peaceful struggle.” He said that the Kashmiris were determined to continue the martyrs’ mission till it reached its logical conclusion.
Jammu and Kashmir Salvation Movement chairman Zaffer Akbar Bhat while paying tributes to Gawkadal martyrs, said, “The sacrifices of the martyrs won’t go waste and freedom movement would be taken to its logical conclusion.”

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