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City centre, adjoining areas observe shutdown in memory of Gaw Kadal massacre

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Photo-Javed Khan

Srinagar, Jan 21: A complete was observed on Monday in Lal Chowk and adjoining areas in memory of the civilians who died in Gaw Kadal massacre on this day in 1990.

The shutdown was called by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik to remember 51 civilians who were killed after paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel opened fire on protestors on Gaw Kadal bridge on January 21, 1990.

Authorities had imposed strict restrictions in and around Gaw Kadal, Maisuma, Basant Bagh and Lal Chowk areas.

Shutdown was observed in Lal Chowk and adjoining areas of Mandir Bagh, Maisuma, Basant Bagh, Gaw Kadal, Red Cross Road, Exchange Road, Budshah Chowk, Abi Guzar, Residency Road, MA Road, Sarai Bala, Court Road, Koker Bazar, Hari Sigh High Street, Goni Khan and Poloview.

All shops and other business establishments in these areas remained closed for the day. However, public transport plied normally.

On January 21, 1990, at least 51 civilians were killed after CRPF troopers opened fire on a procession at Gaw Kadal in Srinagar, where people had gathered to protest the reported molestation of women by the forces’ personnel during a nocturnal raid in Chotta Bazar locality across the River Jhelum.

Meanwhile, JKLF chief Muhammad Yasin Malik was arrested on Monday to prevent him from leading programmes on Gaw Kadal massacre anniversary, said a JKLF spokesman.

He said Malik was arrested from his residence in Maisuma area of Srinagar on Monday morning.

Paying tributes to Gaw Kadal massacre victims, Hurriyat-M chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said the massacre was “another painful reminder of the huge human cost we pay living under forcible control.”

Taking to Twitter, Mirwaiz also condemned the arrest of Malik and others for protesting on 29th anniversary of Gaw Kadal massacre.

“Today is the 29th anniversary of the brutal #GawkadalMassacre another painful reminder of the huge human cost we pay living under forcible control! Civilians protesting molestation of women by forces during a nocturnal raid encircled on the Gaw Kadal bridge, pumped bullets with impunity, killing over 53 people on spot and injuring more than 250 ! Strongly denounce arrest of Yasin sb, Hilal war and other activists for protesting this massacre,” Mirwaiz tweeted.

Former legislator Er Rasheed said that the “unfortunate killings of Kashmiri Pandits” were dubbed as “genocide” by the Indian media and politicians, but they were yet to speak a word on Gaw Kadal massacre.

“While Indian media, politicians and a section of pseudo intellectuals with a communal mindset have been often calling few unfortunate killings of Kashmiri Pandits at the hands of unknown persons as genocide, they don’t speak even a word on Gaw Kadal massacre and other worst massacres which took place in every area of Kashmir at the hands of men in uniform,” Rasheed said in a statement today.

He said the Gaw Kadal massacre reminded New Delhi and the world that after 29 years the desire to resolve Kashmir dispute has “deepened” and that New Delhi was finding it difficult day by day to prove its narrative.

He said the huge sacrifices offered by Kashmiris deserve a response within India and at the international level.

“Indian state has used its institutions and huge propaganda machinery to mislead the world community and create confusion about what Kashmiris stand for,” he said.

“New Delhi should realize that neither its denial to deliver justice to the families of Gaw Kadal massacre victims nor its efforts to demoralize Kashmiris through its political renegades are going to succeed,” he added.

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