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Press Release on the massacre of Sikhs in Chittsinghpora, Jammu & Kashmir on March 20, 2000

March 27, 2000
Washington, DC

An insidious propaganda campaign has been launched by some people in the US that the inhuman killing of 36 innocent Sikh villagers in Chittsinghpora village of Anantnag district in Jammu & Kashmir on the night of March 20, 2000 was the handiwork of the Indian security forces.

The attempt is to divert attention from the fact well known to the people in India and all over the world that it was the work of Pak-sponsored terrorists including foreign mercenaries. In a bid to misguide the members of the Sikh community based in the US and to drive a wedge between the Sikhs in the US and their brethren in India, Pakistan has also sought to deflect the blame for the massacre from itself and the terrorist groups based in Pakistan.

Fortunately, however, the investigating agencies in Jammu & Kashmir have made a breakthrough in the case with the arrest of Yakub Wagey, a terrorist belonging to the Hizbul-Mujahideen, who was a resident of Chittsinghpora. Yakub Wagey has revealed that the massacre was the handiwork of a group of 16 to 17 terrorists, including 6 militants of Hizbul Mujahideen and 11-12 foreign mercenaries owing allegiance to the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). Wagey has identified by name all six militants belonging to Hizbul Mujahideen and five belonging to the LeT. He has admitted that they were briefed to kill Sikhs. In pursuance of their plan, on the night of March 20, 2000, the group had divided itself into two and proceeded to Akalipora and Showkeenpora mohallas of village Chittsinghpora. On reaching the spot, they called out all the males along with their local headman and shot them. After carrying out the heinous crime, the group divided itself into 3 parts.

Based on specific inputs given by Wagey, an encounter ensued with the security forces on March 25 in which 5 foreign mercenaries were killed in village Panchthalan. Five AK series rifles, two wireless sets and several grenades were found in their possession. All mercenaries were in combative uniform. Jammu & Kashmir police and armed units are now pursuing other leads.

It is significant that the timing of the massacre coincided with the visit of the President of the US to India. Obviously, the terrorist groups and their Pakistani mentors wanted to create trouble to overshadow the visit. It is also significant that this was the first large-scale attack of terrorist group on the Sikhs in Jammu & Kashmir.

The object was clearly to further their campaign of ethnic cleansing and to evoke communal disharmony in the state and elsewhere in India. They have completely failed in both these endeavours, as the massacre has evoked worldwide condemnation and only highlighted Pakistan's continuing involvement in cross-border terrorism.