Monday, March 24
The fatal pre-dawn knock
The Hindu, March 25, 2003

NADIMARG: For 11 Kashmiri Pandit families of Nadimarg village in Pulwama district of south Kashmir, the pre-dawn period on Monday turned out to be a nightmare. Twenty-four members belonging to their families were gunned down by militants posing as Army personnel.

"When I heard a knock, I opened the door and saw some gunmen asking us to come out for searches being conducted to flush out the militants. They were wearing Army uniforms and spoke Urdu and Kashmiri," said 60-year-old Chuni Lal, who escaped with injuries. "Later, all of us were asked to assemble outside the police post and the indiscriminate firing started," he said adding "when one of them said he (Chuni Lal) is still alive I pretended to be dead and thus survived".

His son, Deep, blamed the authorities for the killings.

"We had approached the Deputy Commissioner, Anantnag, on Saturday and told him that we had some apprehensions and asked for security to be strengthened. But he refused to listen," he told The Hindu. [...]

When this reporter reached the village, 22 bodies lay on the ground wrapped in shrouds, a reminder of the massacres of Sikhs in March 2000 and of same community in Wandhama and Sangrampora a few years back. At least nine of the dead were men aged between 60 and 80.

A large number of dumb-struck Muslims had gathered in the village to condole the deaths of their neighbours. "We are shocked and feel disturbed over the fact that it is being done in the name of tehreek (movement) and we get maligned," said Shameem Ahmed, a resident.
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