Incidentally ‘Recognition of Genocide’ of Kashmiri Pandit community by the Union Government came just a day before the sixteenth anniversary of one of the worst and gruesome acts of Genocide recorded in the history independent India.
Kashmiri Pandit community has been commemorating the day ever since and this year in Jammu this year, Ard Nadeshwar Trust paid rich tributes to ‘Martyrs of Nadimarg’ massacre at Muthi Geeta Bhawan. A Shradhanjai program was organized and floral tributes paid to the members of Pandit community amidst the recitation of Hymns from Bhagwat Gita.
On March 23, 2003, unidentified gunmen wearing combat dresses barged into the houses of Kashmiri Pandits at Nadimarg village and killed twenty four persons, including eleven women, eleven men and two children. The deceased included a 70-year old man and a 2 year old baby. The incident happened in Shopian district (then Pulwama), only 7 kms from Bijbehara, the home town of the then State Chief Minister, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.
Eye witnesses had informed the media that a group of heavily armed gunmen, dressed in army uniform barged into the houses at about 10.30 PM, when the victims were going to sleep. “They knocked at the doors of Kashmiri Pandit houses. They asked them to assemble in a compound near the picket under a Chinar tree and fired indiscriminately upon all of them, killing twenty four persons on the spot” the witnesses had said.
The deceased were identified as
- Bansi Lal (70), S/o Daya Ram 2. Rajni (22) D/o Bansi Lal 3.Lok Nath (40) S/o Kanth Ram 4. Radhakrishan (60) S/o Kanth Ram 5. Pradhiman Krishan (25) S/o Radhakrishan 6. Geeta (40) W/o Radha Krishan 7. Ramesh Pandit 8. Lassa Koul (70) S/o Govind Ram 9. Triloki Nath (55) F/o Manohar Nath Pandit 10. Sangeeta (30) W/o Manohar Nath Pandit 11. Suraj Kumar (3) S/o Manohar Nath Pandit 12. Suman (Julie) (30), W/o Satish Kumar Pandit 13. Monu Raj (2) S/o Satish Kumar 14. Chand Rani (40) W/o Chuni Lal 15. Jiya Lal Bhat (80) 16. Devki (75) W/o Jiya Lal Bhat 17. Sushma (26) D/o Jiya Lal18. Avtar Krishan (55) S/o Jiya Lal 19. Girja Kumari (23) D/o Bansi Lal 20. Princy (27) D/o Bansi Lal 21. Rakesh Kumar (22) S/o Jiya Lal 22. Bansi Lal (50) S/o Jiya Lal 23. Umat Kumar (20) S/o Avtar Krishan 24. Ashajee (Bindri) 40) W/o Bansi Lal
Injured: Chuni Lal, Survivors of Carnage:
- Mohan Lal Bhat 2. Ramesh Koul 3.Chuni Lal and his son (4) Deep 5. Phoola Devi 6. Gunwati 7. Som Nath (8) his wife and (9) his son 10. 3 month old child of Satish Kumar 11. Sanjay Koul 12. Manohar Nath Pandit 13. Pran Nath Bhat 14. Rohit 15. Bhushan Lal
Only fifteen people among the Pandit community residing there survived the massacre. The government after the incident had assured the survivors of all possible help and security but they left Kashmir within 2-days after witnessing the mayhem.
Kashmiri Pandit community ever since has been observing this day as a Black Letter Day and various commemorations are held across India.