Kashmir marks anniversary of 1990 Gaw Kadal massacre

Tragedy struck Shafeeqa Jan on this day in 1990, when she was in her early 20s. Shafiqa lost her husband, Shabir Ahmad, who was ruthlessly killed by Indian military forces while he was taking part in a peaceful protest. Almost 24 years later, she is still waiting for justice. Shabir was not the only one who fell to bullets on January 21, 1990. Hundreds of people had gathered at Gaw Kadal area in Kashmir's capital city Srinagar to protest against the alleged molestation of women by government forces. The security forces opened indiscriminate fire, leaving more than 50 civilians in pools of blood. A complete shutdown was observed in the region to protest what they term as government's failure to prosecute the forces involved in the massacre. Hundreds of people took to streets to demand inquiry into the incident. The protestors also clashed with government forces in Srinagar city. Human rights groups in Kashmir have accused the Indian government of hindering the due process of law and preventing the prosecution of security officials involved in gross human rights abuses in the region. Observers say the Gaw Kadal massacre also became the basis for migration of Hindu families from Kashmir. Kashmir's pro-independence leaders have called on international human rights organizations to set up an International Independent Tribunal to probe the Gawkadal massacre so that the conspirators are unmasked and punished under international humanitarian laws. For the young generation of Kashmir, Gaw Kadal massacre has become a part of collective memory. The gory incident, according to observers, stirred their political consciousness and turned many of them into rebels. Even 24 years after the massacre, people here are in no mood to forgive or forget.

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