On August 1, 1990 an Army convoy was on its way to Srinagar from Baramulla.
“Some private trucks were also part of the long Army convoy. Pattan road was in shambles and there were many potholes. The tyre of one of the Army vehicles suddenly burst and Army personnel with their finger on triggers, mistook it as a militant attack. Panicky soldiers resorted to indiscriminate firing that lasted up to five to eight minutes. It was a hell let loose. People ran for cover while many, including vendors and shopkeepers, also received serious injuries in the resultant stampede”, the victims recounted
“Army directly targeted civilians. Over hundred civilians received bullets among which 12 lost their lives,” alleged a survivor.
One of the survivors Ghulam Hassan Bhat from main town Pattan said that he received 16 bullets and yet Almighty saved his life. “What I witnessed can not be expressed in words. After receiving bullets in arms, legs and lower part of my body, I lied in a gutter. I saw unbridled Army personnel directly targeting people. The dead bodies and injured were lying in a pool of blood. I lost conscience after I watched an army jawan pumping bullets into the body of a fruit seller from Shoch hamlet,” Hassan said.
Another survivor from Poshwani who wished not to be named said that on that fateful day, an Assistant Sub Inspector of JK Police, Abdul Rauf and another cop Dilip Singh were present in the market. Rauf received at least 32 bullets and died on the spot and same was the fate of cop Dilip Singh,” he said.
Another eyewitness from Pattan town said that after killing spree, the Army men entered into Mian Mohalla, Pattan and set various residential houses on fire. “The house of my friend Muhammad Akram was also set on fire by berserk Army men. Those days, Army were the virtual rulers in Kashmir and they were free to kill anyone. It sends chill down my spine whenever I remember that bloody incident,” he said.
According to eyewitnesses Pattan town mourned the deaths for over a week. “Not a single shop opened up for two weeks in the town after the fateful incident. Some of the deceased who were killed in Army firing were identified as ASI Abdul Rauf, Constable Dilip Singh, Ghulam Hasan Zargar, Wali Muhammd Itoo, Abdul Rehman of Gohbugh, Habibullah Darzi, mentally challenged Abdul Khaliq of Palhalan, and Nayeem Ahmed Sheikh from Buran Pattan.
Army claimed that the civilians were killed in cross firing as militants had attacked their convoy. “An FIR vide number 124/1990 under section 307, 3/25 still stands registered in police station Pattan.” However probe ordered has never reached to any conclusion.
(With Inputs from CNS)