SRINAGAR: The pro-freedom camp on Tuesday condemned the killing of two youths by the army in Handwara area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.
The slain youth—Nayeem Qadir Bhat and Mohammad Iqbal—were protesting a soldier’s alleged attempt to molest a school girl.
In a statement issued here, Hurriyat (G) chairman, Syed Ali Geelani, termed the killing as “state terrorism at its peak”.
He also apologised to the Sikh community for not deferring the shutdown call falling on the day of Baisakhi.
“Such a molestation bid by men-in-uniform is too grave an incident (for delaying the shutdown),” he said.
‘Unprovoked firing result of unbridled powers’
Condemning the “unprovoked” firing by the army, Hurriyat (M) chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, said the unbridled powers given to government forces is the main reason of their “going berserk and killing of unarmed Kashmiris”.
“Kashmiris, whether students or businessmen, living in the Valley or outside, are being harassed, victimised, and targeted. It seems if an undeclared war has been waged against them,” Mirwaiz said.
He said the pro-freedom leadership “needs to move forward with a common understanding and devise a comprehensive and effective strategy in dealing with such incidents”.
“Being the representatives of the people and their aspirations, it is incumbent upon the resistance leadership to raise voice against the atrocities carried on the people and protest against the harassment, victimisation and killings of Kashmiris,” he said.
Mirwaiz however called for exempting the Sikh community from observing the shutdown.
Chairman Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Muhammad Yasin Malik, in a statement issued here, said “violating our chastity of our girls and then showering bullets on innocent protesters has once again exposed the ugly brutal face of Indian occupational mindset”.
“Now pro-India politicians, assembly members, and the so-called rulers will shed crocodile tears and announce probes. We want to tell them that they are directly responsible for these killings and attacks,” Malik said, calling it a “cold-blooded” murder.
Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) chairman, Shabir Ahmad Shah, said the army has made killing as its “hobby” in Kashmir.
“This is the brutal face of these occupational forces. The unbridled powers conferred upon forces in the garb of AFSPA are only emboldening them,” he said in a statement issued here.
He expressed condolence and solidarity with the families of slain youth.
The JKLF (R) patron, Barrister Abdul Majid Trambu, said the government forces are “trigger happy” and “kill anyone without any provocation”.
In a statement issued here, Trambu said the incumbent regime’s ‘healing touch’ proved to be “hollow”.
He also condemned the alleged molestation bid by armed forces, saying “they have made lives of people hell”.
‘Forces have licence to kill’
Chairman JKLF (H), Javaid Ahmad Mir, in a statement issued here, condemned the “brutal” killings.
He said: “This shows the ugly face of Indian democracy in Kashmir. The PDP- BJP government has given the armed forces a licence to kill our young ones.”
‘Barbaric and inhuman’
Jamiat Ahle Hadith J&K termed it as a “barbaric and inhuman” act.
In a statement issued here, its general secretary, Dr Abdul Lateef Al-Kindi, said instead of arresting and penalising the “criminal forces”, bullets were showered on those trying to save the modesty of women.
“This is highly regrettable. It seems whenever the tourist season in Kashmir is nearing, such kind of killings start so as to deprive Kashmiris even economically. These brutalities are an outcome of impunity given to killer forces,” he said.
Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation also condemned the killing of youth in Handwara.
In a statement issued here, KTMF president, Mohammad Yasin Khan, said “forces have been given a license to kill Kashmiris”.
“It is responsibility of the government to book the culprits,” he said.
Hurriyat (G) leaders condemn
In a joint statement issued here, senior Hurriyat Conference (G) leaders including Mohammad Yousuf Naqash, Bilal Sidiqui and Hakeem Abdul Rashid condemned the “state terrorism of occupational forces”.