|Wednesday, March 22, 2000,
They struck to be noticed
Shelling on Indian positions
Victims kin seek guns
Scribes beaten up
IB mens families among
BSF camp stormed
struck to be noticed
JAMMU, March 21 The killing of 35 Sikhs in Chatti-Singhpora village of Anantnag district last night is part of the revised strategy of the foreign mercenaries. Militants killed in the last one month more than four Sikh youths in Baramulla district as they suspected them to be police informers.
Three factors seem to have led to the carnage. First, the Pakistan agencies have realised that by targeting Hindus and Kashmiri Pandits in the State they were not able to kick up communal turmoil. Hence for the first time they eliminated 35 Sikhs in order to foment communal clashes as the Sikh community is known for not taking things lying down.
Secondly, Sikhs in Jammu and Kashmir have not lent any direct or indirect support to the militants. Even during the peak of turmoil in Punjab Sikhs in Jammu and Kashmir did not play an overt role. Recently, a senior leader of the Khalistan Zindabad Force had infiltrated into Jammu to enlist support of the Sikhs so that they could provide shelter to the Punjabi and Kashmiri militants.
Highly placed informed sources said that several Sikhs, whom the KZF leader met, had refused to support the militants. The sources said that yesterdays killing was to send a signal to the members of this minority community to either support the militants or face elimination.
Thirdly, the militants wanted to focus US President, Bill Clintons attention towards the Kashmir problem. By massacring 35 Sikhs the militants managed to get the first lead in news bulletins in various TV channels. The killing might force Mr Clinton to consider mediation in the Kashmir issue.
When militancy took firm roots in Kashmir in 1990 over 12,000 Sikh families fled from the valley along with over 3.50 lakh Kashmiri Pandits. Majority of these Sikh families registered themselves as migrants in Jammu. It was in March 1990 that a senior Akali leader Simranjit Singh Mann visited Srinagar where he threatened Kashmiri separatist leaders that in case they attacked even a single Sikh all exports from Kashmir would be stopped.
He told them that trucks carrying fruits and other commodities for sale in Delhi and other markets would not be allowed to cross Pathankot. The threat worked and the separatists assured that Sikhs living in Kashmir would not be touched.
And within three months all the Sikh migrants returned to their ancestral villages in the Kashmir valley. Not only this: a large number of Sikhs from Punjab went to Kashmir and settled three as businessmen. Since Punjab was in turmoil these Sikhs from various towns and villages of Punjab felt Kashmir was a safe place for them.
But the Monday carnage has changed the complexion of the ethnic amity in Kashmir. Informed sources said that the massacre was definitely the work of foreign mercenaries who have been operating in various areas in Indian Army uniforms. Those mercenaries had also thought that by descending on the village in the Army uniform they would be taken for men of the Indian defence forces and the carnage could be attributed to the machinations of the Indian security forces. It has not worked because the four wounded have given indications that the killers were foreign mercenaries.
In fact militants have been trying to forge a nexus between Punjab militants, camping across the border, and the Kashmiri insurgents and for this they needed the support of the Sikhs so that hideouts could be established in areas dominated by Sikhs. The plan failed after the police eliminated and arrested several Sikh youths in the outskirts of Jammu town in recent years. The police crackdown had smashed the bases of the militants in the border belts.
Above all the carnage
was also aimed at keeping the security forces on the
tenterhooks. So far there has never been a need for
setting up security pickets in areas where Sikhs lived in
the Kashmir valley. Now onwards the State Government will
need additional forces for providing security to this
minority community too. And in case some Sikh families
migrate from the villages it would impose another
financial burden on the Government.
SRINAGAR, March 21 (PTI) Pakistani troops fired on Indian installations and civilian targets for the fifth consecutive day today along the Line of Control and international border in Jammu and Kashmir, official sources said here.
Civilian areas at Karnah in the frontier district of Kupwara were the worst-hit by the indiscriminate firing from across the border last night, they said.
However, there were no casualties, the sources said. The shelling and firing continued till this morning, they said.
In stepped-up shelling from across the border, Pakistani troops have been indulging in unprovoked firing on Indian side of the LoC and international border since the night of March 16 and 17.
A villager was critically wounded when Pakistani troops fired on his home at Tilawadi in Uri sector on Sunday evening.
Heavy shelling on Saturday night at Thakhar village in Akhnoor sector forced about 15 families to migrate to safer places.
CHATTISINGHPORA (Kashmir), March 21 (PTI) Give us guns, we will kill each and every militant in this place and be azad (free) once again, cried women, men and young when the top Army, police and civil officers accompanied by the Jammu and Kashmir Minister of State for Home Mushtaq Ahmad Lone visited the site of massacre of 35 Sikhs here today.
Next of kin of the deceased, relatives and neighbours from adjoining villages, who assembled here this morning on hearing news of the massacre, in one voice cried that they are not safe and demanded guns to challenge the militants.
The Minister for Works Mr Ali Mohammad Sagar was not allowed to enter the village as the angry Sikh youth threw stones on his car and tried to manhandle him prompting his guards to fire in the air to disperse them.
SRINAGAR, March 21 (PTI) A six-member team of Kashmir-based journalists today escaped an attack by a group of agitated Sikhs at Anantnag district of south Kashmir.
Armed with kangris (fire pots used by Kashmiris to keep warm during winter), the agitated minority community members dragged out the journalists from their vehicles and beat them up, the scribes said after returning here.
The team comprised Naseer Ahmad of Zee Television, Tariq and Bilal Bhat of Asian News International, Izhar Wani and Tauseef Ustada of AFP and Mukhtar Ahmad Baba of a local news agency.
Mustafa, a photo-journalist, received injuries in the attack, they said.
NEW DELHI, March 21 (PTI) Little did Deedar Singh of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) know that Holi festival would end up with a splash of red, his own blood.
Singh, working as inspector in the IB, had left for his home town Chattisinghpura in Anantnag district of South Kashmir on a holiday to celebrate the festival of colours. He was among the 35 gunned down by militants last night.
Another IB staffer posted in Srinagar lost his two sons in the carnage while yet another employee of IB was deprived of his only son. Most others were also related to IB personnel.
SRINAGAR, March 21 (PTI) Two militants armed with sophisticated weapons stormed a Border Security Force camp at Chhanpora in uptown Srinagar this evening.
The militants, suspected
to be a suicide squad, opened heavy fire and exploded
grenades while forcing their way into small-scale
industrial corporation building housing BSF troops,
official sources said.
|| Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
| Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | In Spotlight |
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
| 119 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |