The Killing of Gowhar and Javed

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Gowhar Amin Bahadur, 21, a resident of Batmaloo, Srinagar, was killed after being taken into custody by the BSF, also on April 8, 1993. His father stated that on that morning, Gowhar had gone to his in-laws’ house. At about 10:30 a.m., BSF forces entered Batmaloo.  Bashir,  a resident of Batmaloo, stated that he was at home on the morning of April 8. At about 7:10 a.m., BSF forces knocked on his door and told him that a crackdown was underway and that he and all the male members of his family were to come outside and report to the park. Bashir says :

‘I left the house and saw the main road was filled with BSF. When I reached Batmaloo Colony Park, I saw Gowhar there. I asked him why he was there. He said he was not worried since he had the release order from the court. There were many people in the park. At 8:30 a.m. the BSF told everyone to go to the general bus stand. Gowhar and I went to the bus stand. At about 10:30 a.m. the BSF told a crowd of maybe 100 people at the bus stand to walk in front of five security vehicles. All day I and others were paraded in front of the security vehicles.69 Gowhar was in the first row of persons made to walk in front of the vehicles. As he was walking, he was pulled out of the line by a BSF officer and his pheran [a cape-like coat traditionally worn by Kashmiri men] was pulled off and wrapped around his head. He was then taken behind the vehicles. Shortly afterwards, Javed Bakshir was taken from the line and put behind one of the vehicles. Only Gowhar and Javed were taken. After a few minutes, a military van pulled up and the two of them were put into it and the van drove off. An hour later the same van returned to the general bus stand. All the rest of us were still there. The van came down a road that leads to Balpora, a neighborhood in Batmaloo. At about 2:30 p.m. I was still at the bus stand, I saw a Jammu and Kashmir police flatbed truck coming from Balpora and saw two pairs of feet sticking out of the back as it drove by. I was released at 5:30 p.m.’

Mohammad Amin, Gowhar’s father, was permitted to go to his office after he showed the BSF his government identity card. When he reached his office at 11:10 a.m., Amin received a phone call saying that Gowhar had been arrested. Amin could not identify who called him. He went home to collect the court papers showing Gowhar’s release from jail in June 1992 to show to the BSF,70 but as he walked out of the house, the troops told him an operation was underway and he could not go to the BSF office. At 3:30 p.m. Gowhar’s father-in-law called Amin to tell him that Gowhar’s body was lying in a truck outside the police control room. Amin says:

I went there and saw the body. There was blood on the back of his head which had been smashed open. He had bullet wounds in his back, the right side of his abdomen and the right side of his neck. The body of Javed `Tanga’ Bakshir, which was lying in the same truck, also had bullet wounds.

A witness, Laila, who resides in Bolpora stated that she was at home between 2:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. on April 8 when she saw a van and two security vehicles stop fifteen yards from her house. She saw uniformed security forces make two people, whose heads were covered with their pherans, come down from the van. She stated that she had known Gowhar for many years and recognized him by his pheran because it was black, an unusual color. The men were made to enter a lane, accompanied by about thirty security forces. Two witnesses, Jamsheeda and Shameem., who live next door to Laila, stated that they were in their house at the time. Two soldiers came to J. at the window and told her not to look or they would kill her.

She went up to the second floor and looked again and saw the security forces carry a wooden log, which had been propped up against a house. Other soldiers were in the compound watching. Jamsheeda says:

Then the soldiers tied the boys’ hands behind their backs and forced them both to lie face down with their heads on the logs. One soldier was carrying a white bag out of which he took a stick of some kind. Then he struck both of the boys on the head with the stick four or five times. Then several of the soldiers went into the street and fired two bursts of machine gunfire. Several soldiers shouted into their wirelesses, “We have killed two militants. They had been hidden and we killed them.

Shortly after that a Jammu and Kashmir police truck came and the police removed the two bodies.

The alleged perpetrators:

Commandant Gopal Singh Shekawat, 4th Battalion, Border Security Force [BSF] Deputy Commandant Sanyal Singh, 4th Battalion, Border Security Force [BSF] B.D.Verma, Inspector, 4th  Battalion, Border Security Force [BSF] Ajay Singh, Inspector, 4th  Battalion, Border Security Force [BSF] M.S.Rawat, Constable, 4th  Battalion, Border Security Force [BSF] Harish Chand Panday, Constable, 4th Battalion, Border Security Force [BSF] Kalyan Singh, Constable, 4th  Battalion, Border Security Force [BSF] Mukesh Kumar, Constable, 4th  Battalion, Border Security Force [BSF]

have been labelled untraceable.

This case of gruesome human rights violations has been allowed to remain pending for 24 years due to the all pervasive culture of impunity.

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