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Etalaat Newspaper of J&K writes:
Jan 25: Day of massacres in JK's bloodied history
1998: 23 Pandits massacred at Wandhama
Srinagar, Jan24: Ten years after unidentified assailants wiped out 23 Kashmiri Pandits at Wandhama hamlet of Ganderbal district, police has failed to trace the killers and closed the file. It was the night of January 25, 1998 (Holy month of Ramadan was on) when the gunmen targeted the Pandits who had stayed put her. The victims had resisted the mass migration of Pandits in early 90s and decided to stay put here despite odds.
The incident sparked anger and shock across the Valley. The Hurriyat Conference had observed a protest strike demanding an enquiry by Amnesty International and other global groups into the incident. The pro-freedom groups had blamed New Delhi and the state government for the massacre.After the incident, fear psychosis gripped the Pandit community in the Valley, leading to migration of many more Pandit families from Kashmir.
Manoj Kumar Dhar, a 16-year-old boy was the lone eyewitness of the incident. In a statement to police, he said a group of masked gunmen barged into his house at about 11:30 pm and forced the inmates to come out. "I jumped out of the wall of my house. As soon as my father, brothers and sisters came out, I saw the gunmen shooting them one-by-one. They were crying and begging for life,” he had told the police.
"One of the gunmen spotted me and asked me to come out but I hid myself beneath a heap of saw dust stored in the house. They then opened fire from all sides of the house and probably thought I too was killed in the firing. I cannot identify them but they were speaking Urdu," Manjor said.
The village Muslim men were in the mosques observing Shab-e-Qadir. Police recorded statements from them. "We came to know about the killings only when our women came wailing," Abdul Ahad, a villager told the police.
The police later claimed they’d recovered a letter in which an unknown organization “Intikaam-ul-Muslimoon” had claimed responsibility for the killing of Pandits. The letter was tagged to one of the bullet-ridden bodies.Sub-Divisional police officer Ganderbal Showkat Ahmad, who was then Station Hose Officer of the area told etala’at that “the case has been untraced as no one was identified as the killer of the Pandits."