Legal Forum for Kashmir

Chronology of Massacres in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir

The crimes committed on Jammu’s Muslim population were nothing less than ethnic cleansing. It reflects on the circumstances which led to the mass killings and the empting of Jammu’s Muslims in the region at the Partition of Indian subcontinent.

Jammu Massacre 1947

No single event has shaped the uncertainty of the future that the people of Jammu & Kashmir uncomfortably and hesitantly peek out towards than those unfolded on 22 October 1947. The inter-religious violence that occurred in Jammu and Kashmir against the backdrop of the 1947 Partition of India and its aftermaths included a possible ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Muslims of Jammu. One million Kashmiri Muslim refugees were uprooted and an estimated 250000-300000 were massacred in the Jammu region alone in August-October 1947.

To quote a 10 August 1948 report published in The Times, London: “237000 Muslims were systematically exterminated unless they escaped to Pakistan along the border by the forces of the Dogra State headed by the Maharaja in person and aided by Hindus and Sikhs. This happened in October 1947, five days before the Pathan invasion and nine days before the Maharaja’s accession to India.” Reportedly, as a result of the massacre/migration, Muslims who were a majority (61 per cent) in the Jammu region became a minority instantly. There is also an article by Horace Alexander written on 16 January 1948 in The Spectator. Alexander put the number of Muslims killed in Jammu at 200,000.

A humanitarian crisis of such colossal magnitude should never have been forgotten in the manner in which it has been for political purposes. India in cahoots with the so-called mainstream politicians of the State have largely succeeded in suppressing the chilling details of a Muslim massacre in Jammu while selling the idea of ‘unity in diversity’ and ‘secularism’ to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Jammu massacre of October 1947 and large-scale migration of Muslims from areas of Pir Panjal and the Chenab Valley (Poonch, Udhampur and Bhaderwah) to the other side (Azad Jammu and Kashmir) drastically changed the demographics and reduced a Muslim-majority (then 61 per cent) Jammu province to a Hindu-majority region. Several thousands of Muslims were loaded in about sixty lorries in the first batch to flee to Sialkot. The Dogra troops escorted the buses but the RSS volunteers were already positioned near Chattha in the outskirts of the Jammu city to kill them.

The first realization was that this calamity is also fraught with certain sense of gendered calamity. There is no denial that uncanny violence sponged off the majority population, but a blanket of silence descends upon the cases of abduction and rape. After the Muslim neighborhoods had turned into ghost towns overnight, the larger impending crisis was the uncertain fate of the abducted women, torn asunder by that crimson autumn.

Often though, the debate has been dominated by the histories of the Holocaust and the studies of other examples of ‘ethnic cleansing’. Until now, little has been written on the manifestation of genocide at the time of the division of India. For a long time, standard accounts of the 1947 communal violence observe this violence as ‘bloodshed’, ‘slaughter’, ‘mass killings’, ‘massacres’ and the like.

Gawakadal massacre

On 21 January 1990, 51 civilians were killed by CRPF troopers during protests against earlier raids in which wanton arrests and molestation of women were conducted by CRPF troops.

Handwara massacre

On January 25, 1990, two BSF patrolling parties in Handwara indiscriminately fired at peaceful protesters and killed 25 people. Many people were injured.

Zakoora and Tengpora massacre

Indian forces killed 33 protesters and injured 47 on 1 March 1990 at Zakoora Crossing and Tengpora Bypass Road in Srinagar. The killers were not punished

Hawal massacre

At the funeral of Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq on May 21, 1990 over 60 civilians were killed by paramilitary forces and hundreds injured in the indiscriminate firing on the funeral procession

On 6 January 1993 Indian troops killed 55 civilians in the town of Sopore and set fire to many homes and buildings

On 22 October 1993 the Indian Army killed 51 civilians during protests over the siege of the Hazratbal Mosque. 25 of those killed were students None of the accused were punished

On 27 January 1994 the Indian Army fired at and killed 27 civilians, mainly traders, in Kupwara district. Survivors say that the soldiers carried out the massacre to punish people for observing shutdown on January 26

Sailan Massacre

On the night of 3 – 4 August 1998, 13 females and 6 male members of three closely related families were shot to death at point blank range in their homes in Sailan village, in the Surankote Tehsil, of the ‘border district’ of Poonch in Jammu Region of Jammu and Kashmir, by 4 Special Police Officers (SPOs) and personnel of the 9 Para commando battalion (under the control of Major Gaurav Rishi), an elite commando unit of the Indian Army.

Later on, the dead bodies were horribly cut into pieces with axes and other sharp instruments. Even though the families approached the Jammu and Kashmir High Court for investigations in 2012, and the case was eventually handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to carry out proper investigations, the CBI concluded that the case should be closed, exonerated the named accused and stated that the families of the victim were untruthful.