The Chittisinghpura massacre
refers to the shooting to death of 35 Sikhs
by the Islamic Fundamentalist militant
on March, 2000 , in the Kathua
District of the State of Jammu and Kashmir
The killers were disguised in Indian Army fatigues to avoid detection. The massacre took place when the militants opened fire on the villagers, resulting in a large number of deaths. The sole survivor of the massacre was Nanak Singh Aulakh
, who recounted the events to reporters.
The residents were killed by Lashkar-e-Toiba as part of their Islamist campaign in the region. A Lashkar-e-Toiba militant named Sohail Malik of Sialkot, who was arrested in December of the same year, admitted to the involvement of the group and had no regret in perpetrating the anti-Sikh massacre. Malik said he had opened fire because he had been ordered to do so by his commanders. He also said that he knew nothing about the plot to kill the Sikhs until he stood in an orchard where the 35 people were killed. Pakistan Rangers had taught Malik marksmanship and mountain climbing. He infiltrated India in October 1999, with the equivalent of USD 200 in expense money, in order to participate in the massacre. .
The killings of 36 Sikhs was a turning point in the Kashmir issue
, where Sikhs had usually been spared from militant violence.
The villagers ensured that the local school was up and running just two weeks after the killings. The massacre created tension and distrust between the Sikh and Muslim residents of the area, but no problems developed at the joint Muslim-Sikh village school.
In 2005, Sikh organizations such as the Bhai Kanahiya Jee Nishkam Seva Society demanded a deeper state inquiry into the details of the massacre and for the inquiry to be made public. The state government ordered an inquiry into the massacre. A day after the inquiry was ordered, NDTV special correspondent Barkha Dutt went to the village.
The massacre coincided with the visit of United States
president Bill Clinton
to India. In an introduction to a book written by Madeleine Albright
titled The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs (2006)
, he accused "Hindu Militants" of perpetrating the act. This error created a major incident, with both Hindu and Sikh groups expressing outrage at the inaccuracy. Clinton's office did not return calls seeking comment or clarification. In the hours immediately after the massacre in March 2000, the US condemned the killings but refused to accept the Indian government's contention that it was the work of Pakistani Islamist
groups. That changed as soon as Clinton's error was exposed. The publishers, Harper Collins
routed a correction through Albright's office. In a public statement they acknowledged the mistake.
Page xi of the Mighty and the Almighty contains a reference to Hindu militants that will be deleted in subsequent printings, both in America and in international editions. This error was due to a failure in the fact-checking process.
The apparent error was aggravated by Clinton's refusal to acknowledge it, and exacerbated by Pankaj Mishra
's book Temptations of the West: How to be Modern in India, Pakistan, Tibet and Beyond
where he repeated the allegations against Hindus even after the confession of the Lashkar-e-Toiba militants..
Chittisinghpura massacre in film
The massacre was depicted in the commercial Bollywood
(unholy) directed by Adeep Singh.