Handwor Massacre – the shrieks that continue to echo

After the four days of the massacre at Gaewkadal bridge, more than 10,000 people from Ramhal, Vilgam, Rajwar, Kandi, Nagarwari, Qaziabad, Qalamabad, and Kulangam poured on the streets of Handwor on 25 January 1990 to protest peacefully against the massacre. As soon as the people from Ramhal reached the main square, the BSF (Border Security Forces) started indiscriminate firing at the crowd which left 21 dead and more than seventy injured. The bodies were later transferred to the district hospital where the makeshift shed acted as a mortuary.

15-Year-Old Muhammad Maqbool Mir was one of the survivors who had hidden first in the police station, then in the pile of dead bodies, and presuming he was dead, a BSF trooper had walked away. He pretended to be dead until he reached the hospital.

15-year-old Manzoor Ahmad Sheikhs father had held his son’s hand. Despite the bullet hitting him in the head, he didn’t let go of the hand. The second bullet hit him in the chest. The grip of the hand remained tight until he collapsed on the ground uttering ” run away Manzoor, save your life”.

The district hospital had no space to accommodate the injured and the dead. .Many were referred to Vormul. An FIR vide NO- 10/1990 was registered at Police station Handwara under sections 307, 151, 53, 427, 336, 449, 448, 436, 435–A. Just like Gaewkadal massacre, Inspector of the police Ghulam Mohiuddin closed the case as untraced on 6th February 1993. Nobody was held accountable.

Reacting to the Handwor massacre, Mufti Sayeed had said ” One bullet will be responded with hundred bullets” which sounded the same as the comments of Jagmohan Malthotra’s “Bullet is the only solution for Kashmir”.

On Oct 1, 1990, 13 Kumaon Army cordoned off the market and killed 22 civilians in the same town in retaliation to the attack on the convoy passing by. The investigations later revealed that none of the civilians killed had anything to do with the attack.

In another incident, “ünknown gunmen” donning the military uniform massacred 23 Pandits in Wandhma on 25 Jan 1998. Justice continues to evade the families of the victims these massacres.

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