1 September 1990- An Untold Massacre from Pulwama

September 06

It was sunday, the Ist day of September in 1991, Militancy was on its peak, the locals of Kashmir hardly moved out of their houses as the Indian soldiers increased their movement on the streets of Kashmir.

That day the Indian Army appeared in the midst of road surrounded by paddy fields in between Niloora and Litter villages of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district to carry on their spy task.

“These were the early years of Militancy and Indian army venturing towards rural areas was dangerous as army camps were established only at district headquarters then. Pulwama shopian was a single,”said Ali Mohammad Ganaie aged 80 years age from Niloora area told The Kashmiriyat.

He said that as soon as Army got into the village, people grew apprehensive, Gaw Kadal, Sopore, Handwara incidents had happened then.

Within some time two militants namely Ghulam Hasan Mir from Litter and Farooq Ahmad from Mattan Islamabad (Anantnag) travelling unknowingly on a bullock were heading towards army, he said.

As soon as they realised Army had cordoned off the area, they instantly hid themselves in surrounding paddy fields but forces spotted and fired upon them trigerring a gunfight that continued for a while in which one militant namely Ghulam Hasan Mir from Rakh litter was killed, he added.

He told that the Army laid siege around the village, as another Militant had managed to escape the spot, They searched, however were unable to find a trace of the other militant, Sanaullah bhat, a resident of Niloora told The Kashmiriyat.

Since it was the harvest time in Kashmir, many civilians were working in their fields near the encounter site and when the Army men were unable to find other one, they unleashed surveillance in the fields and started targeting civilians who were working there and others who ran away from homes for the sake of life.

“Those days, people used to believe that hiding in the paddy fields is safe during gunfire,” he told The Kashmiriyat.

He added that everyone was in immense fear and nobody knew what was happening around.

“i had hid myself in the paddy fields, i did not, nobody knew what was happening around, we just heard bullet sounds raging from every side,” another eyewitness told The Kashmiriyat.

Mohamad Ayoub, brother of Abdul qayoom bhat said that till next day morning, we were unable to figure out what had actually happened to the people who were working in fields. “we feared to go outside due to the horror of the other night,” Ayoub told The Kashmiriyat.

He added that next day morning his father Abdul Ahad bhat went to fields to trace his son, when he reached his field he found his son in a pool of blood and next to him were three more civilians, who were later identified as Abdul Quyoom Bhat son of Abdul Ahad Bhat age 19 years Student of Ist year, Mohamad Afzal Khan son of Abdul Gani Ganie aged 35, a govt employee, Mohd Sadiq Khan son of Ahmad Ullah Khan age of 45, a farmer and Abdul Ahad Ganaie son of Ab Rehman Ganaie age 50, a farmer.

As a stab retribution forces forged roaming into more areas and prowled many villagers of Niloora indiscrimately, said Mohd Akbar Ganaie from Niloora.

On the other hand militancy was on peak and militants from adjacent areas sailed to the nearby mount in Achan village of Pulwama district about 2 kms away from Niloora village.

At Mount near holy shrine of syed Malik(RA), militants started aerial firing, due to which Forces enhanced their search operation in more villages like litter, Aglar, Nikloora and vast orchards and paddy fields, Yousuf Ganaie, a Resident of Nikloora village told The Kashmiriyat.

He added that they initially began beating people ruthlessly, whosoever they saw or came in their way.

Gul Mohammad bhat, a resident of Aglar area, now part of Shopian district said guns were roaring from both ends but both were far away from each other, the Army did not proceed towards the Militants, rather forces started dragging out the villagers of Aglar.

He added that five persons from Aglar were dragged and were asked to stand in a straight queue and then fired upon murdering them onspot in orchards of Aglar village. He also said their dead bodies were brought home the next day.
“These murderers shattered our moral, emotional and physical strength,” he told The Kashmiriyat.

After unveiling barbarism in the Niloora and Aglar villages, the forces then moved to safanagar village and dragged 7 youths from houses and killed them in a jiffy on the same day evening after Magrib prayers, said Abdul Razzak a resident of Safanagar village.

Then forces barged into scores of residential houses and arrested over 60 persons from Niloora village, says Sana Ullah bhat who was also arrested.

He added that they tortured us ruthlessly for 7 days before releasing us however the relatives of killed civilians who were arrested were released after two days.

All these 16 civilians and one militant dead were laid to rest next day, said locals.

“This incident haunts my memories and it is just an inseparable truth of our lives, we have seen two generations of people becoming victims of barbarism and inhumanity,”Nazir Ahmad from Aglar village told The Kashmiriyat.