1980 - 1999

Bijbehara Massacre: 22 October 1993

Bijbehara-Massacre-Oct-22-1993-Kashmir

The Bijbehara Massacre refers to an incident that took place between unarmed Kashmiri protestors and the 74th Battalion Border Security Force (BSF) in the Indian administrated state of Jammu & Kashmir on October 22, 1993. The Indian Army fired on a crowd and killed 51 civilians in Bijbehara after protests erupted over the siege of the mosque in Hazratbal.  India’s official version of events, that its army acted in self-defence when fired upon by militants, was rejected by Human Rights Watch citing the 1993 U.S. Department of State country report on human rights in India which said, “Despite government claims that the security forces were ambushed by militants, only one BSF sub inspector was injured.” Confusion surrounds the incident as the Indian Army was accused of the firing even when claiming it was the 74th Battalion of the Border security Force that was involved.The number of reported dead and wounded vary by source. Amnesty International reported that at least 51 people died and 200 were wounded on that day, which included incidents in Srinagar and Bijbehara. The UN Refugee Agency reported 35 dead and about 76 wounded, citing news reports in The Times. The Times of India reported 37 dead.

The Indian government conducted two official enquiries and the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC) conducted a third. In March 1994 the government indicted the Border Security Force (BSF) for firing into the crowd “without provocation” and charged 13 BSF officers with murder. A nonpublic General Security Force Court trial conducted in 1996 led to their acquittal.

When the NHRC sought to examine the transcripts of the trials in order to satisfy itself that the BSF had made a genuine attempt to secure convictions, the Vajpayee government refused. The NHRC then moved the Supreme Court for a review. In September 2000, the NHRC dismissed the case.

On September 10, 2007 the Jammu and Kashmir High Court ordered the state government to pay restitution to the victims’ families.