Sopore, Jan 05: It was the wintry morning of January 6, 1993; most of the townspeople were asleep. Border Security Forces (BSF) of 94 battalions were already out from their barracks wearing long shoes, thumping their feet on few streets and market covered with few inches of snow and patrolling the markets and streets of the town.
It was supposed to be a normal day until gunshots created panic in the main chowk of the Sopore town, a group of JKLF militants has opened fire on a BSF patrolling party killing one BSF personnel. The militant outfit also decamped with his service rifle. This enraged the BSF party and in the mayhem of “rage and revenge”, they killed 57 innocent civilians and set ablaze properties worth crores.
Even after all these years, nobody knows for sure what triggered them that cold January morning. Hapless people, trapped in flames, had only two choices to make and both, it turned out, cost them dearly. Stepping out of their shops meant getting bumped off on the spot. Those who hid in their shops were roasted alive. Many people who were killed on January 6, 1993, were buried without their families being able to see them one last time.
A bus from Sopore to Bandipora, half-full with passengers, on its way to Bandipora, got caught up in the unfortunate tragic episode in the bloody history of Sopore. The driver was allegedly dragged down by BSF forces of 94 battalions and was pumped with bullets, killing him on spot and most of the passengers on the bus. Soon charcoal grey powder was thrown into the bus and in few minutes the bus was in flames.
Entire families were wiped out on that January morning 25 years back; some even mourned the living that day. A Shalla family in Naharpora Sopore lost its six members of his immediate family, among those dead members were three brothers identified as Bashir Ahmad Shalla, Sajad Ahmad Shalla and Muhammad Ashraf Shalla.
An eyewitness told this reporter that he saw men in uniform firing indiscriminately on the people and throwing gunpowder on the shops including the famous cinema “Samad Talkies”, Islamia College Sopore (Women’s) and also burnt shopkeepers alive inside in their shops.
It has been said that more than 350 shops, few houses, Samad talkies and Islamia College including the hundred thousand books were burnt to ashes by these bloodthirsty men in uniform.
Even after twenty-five years of Sopore massacre, it has been remembered by many in Sopore town as the tragic event of yesterday and has left the blot on the history of the Sopore which will never be rubbed even after centuries.

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