September 25, 2020
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'There Is No Government'

Had the police arrived on time, lives of many could have been saved, survivors feel. Earlier, when approached for protection, the response was: 'If nobody has harmed you in past 13 years, who will do it now?'

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'There Is No Government'
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'There Is No Government'
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NADIMARG

Anger against the police brewed among the residents of this sleepy remote hamlet where militants gunned down 24 Kashmiri Pandits, as they hold the police responsible for delay in taking action. Had the police arrived on time, lives of many could have been saved, they said.

"I pleaded with police to come to the rescue of the village. I also managed to sent some messages to nearby Army camps but all my pleas fell on deaf ears," Ramesh Koul, one of the survivors of the massacre, told visiting reporters in Nadimarg.

It took the police four hours to reach the scene of massacre after being informed about the movement of terrorists, Koul lamented.

Located on the Srinagar-Jammu highway, Nadimarg had a population of 52 Pandits comprising 11 families. Now the hamlet presents the picture of a holocaust with half of its population dead, Koul said.

He said militants dressed in Army uniform came to the village at about 10 pm (2200 hours, IST) on Sunday night and asked the people to come out of their houses: "We were told that the Army is going to conduct a search operation as they had information about presence of militants in the village."

He said he sensed something foul about the uniformed men and escaped under the cover of darkness to make his way to Zainapora police station, some six kilometres away, at 11 pm (2300, hours, IST).

"There is no government. When we sought increased protection, nobody listened to us. Now we are dead, everybody is coming here ... I do not know what for," Koul asked JKPCC chief Ghulam Nabi Azad who came to offer condolences to the bereaved families.

Chandji, who escaped death by hiding himself inside the smoke chimney, said there were around seven militants who spoke Urdu and Kashmiri.

"The inmates were asked to assemble outside for identification parade. I did not go out and hid myself in the chimney. A few hours later, I heard the sound of gunshots."

Another survivor, Deep Kumar, said the community leaders had approached the office of Deputy Commissioner, Anantnag, for beefing up the security in the hamlet as they had information about a likely terrorist attack.

"But, we got a strange reply from the officer. He said if nobody has harmed you in past 13 years, who will do it now," Kumar said.

Chandiji's mother complained that the five police personnel posted for security of villagers did not take any action when the militants attacked the village.

"They fled the scene immediately. Had they opened fire even aimlessly, many of the dead would have been alive now," she screamed.

Of the 28 people alive in the hamlet, 16 survived the terror attack due to presence of mind. The remaining were not in the village at the time of the incident.

People from a neighbouring village said they failed to understand how the incident took place despite strong presence of security forces in the area.

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