Srinagar: People from all walks of life came forward on Tuesday to condemn the attack on a bus carrying tourists from Gujarat who were on way to Jammu from Baltal after paying obeisance at Amarnath cave. Seven Gujarati pilgrims including six women were killed and 13 others injured in the attack at Botengoo in Anantnag. The attack caused outrage in Kashmir and people from all sections of society are demanding probe to reveal the identity of the culprits.
National Conference President and Member of Parliament, Farooq Abdullah on Tuesday said the “dastardly attack” on Amarnath Yatris was an attack on the soul and spirit of Kashmir and should be condemned unequivocally by every right thinking citizen of the State.
Addressing party a gathering of party supporters at his mother Akbar Jahan’s grave in connection with her anniversary, Abdullah said the attack was an act of “sheer cowardice” perpetrated by those who can never claim to be Kashmiris or Muslims. Abdullah expressed solidarity with the bereaved families and prayed for the speedy recovery of those who have sustained injuries in the attack.
“The attack on pilgrims is the worst form of cowardice and barbarism. I appeal to every conscientious citizen and especially leadership of all shades of opinion to condemn this dastardly act strongly and unequivocally and consider observing a shutdown in the Valley in solidarity with these victims and as a mark of unanimous and unambiguous protest against the perpetrators of this crime.
“Islam teaches us to protect and safeguard the lives of our guests and teaches us to respect all religions and the right of devotees to practice their respective religions without any fear or insecurity. The attack in Anantnag is an assault on our religion and our identity as Kashmiris”, Abdullah said.
High Court Bar Association
“Killing an innocent person is equal to the killing of the entire humanity and more particularly when a pilgrim has come all the way from a long distance to pay reverence at a religious place. It is highly inhuman to kill him and his killing cannot be justified by anyone, on any ground whatsoever,” Bar Association said in a statement.
Bar, however, said that while condemning such acts, the killing and blinding of Kashmiris during the last 70 years should also be condemned equally.
“The condemning of killing of innocents cannot be selective and no double-standards can be allowed to be adopted for decreeing one act and defending the other. The Bar Association feels that all those who have condemned the killing of Amarnath Yatris should come out openly and condemn the killing, maiming and blinding of innocent Kashmiris also and put pressure on Indian Government to concede to the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir to stop further bloodshed and genocide in Kashmir,” it said.
Demanding that the incident should be investigated an independent agency, Bar said that everyone including militant organizations have condemned the said act and have described the same to be a handy work of those, who want to malign the freedom struggle of the people of Kashmir.
Denouncing the killings of Amarnath pilgrims, Jama’at-e-Islami, termed the attack as “dastardly act which only frustrated lot can commit”.
In a statement, Jama’at expressed grief and sorrow over the act and called upon all conscientious people to come forward and demand an impartial probe by some international agency to bring forth the truth so that no one gets a chance to defame Islam.
“This merciless act has no justification in the teachings of Islam. The mysterious circumstances under which this attack took place, speak volumes about the suspicious role of some unknown elements with the vicious design to defame Kashmiri Muslims,” said the statement.
Strongly condemning the attack on Amarnath Yatris, the incarcerated chairman of Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) Shabir Ahmad Shah said such acts are “completely inhuman”.
In a statement issued here, Shah demanded investigation into the heart-wrenching incident by any impartial probe agency and said “Muslims cannot even think about such acts”.
Referring to police statement, Shah said it is clear that Yatris were not targets. “Kashmiris are known the world over for their best hospitality regarding Yatris and tourists. We have been upholding the tradition of communal brotherhood since decades.”
“The people of Kashmir have already made it clear to world that they have been upholding all the values of humanity while continuing their struggle for freedom,” Shah said.
Expressing condolence and solidarity with those killed, Shah said, “As humans, we’re equally grieved over the loss of lives and pray for speedy recovery of those injured.”
All Parties Sikh Coordination committee
All Parties Sikh Coordination committee (APSCC) has expressed deep shock and anguish over the killings of Amarnath Yatra Pilgrims.
“Government was aware of the attack as recently govt admitted that input had been received regarding an attack on Yatra. Despite that there is failure of the administration for not keeping track of the security of visitors (Yatris),” said Jagmohan Singh Raina, chairman, APSCC in a statement.
It said that every person and political and social groups from Kashmir has condemned the attack on the Yatra. “Kashmir basically does not favour bloodshed but certain elements have managed this act of cowardice,”
“This incidence goes against the Kashmir ethos and its age old tradition of Kashimiriyat(love for human beings) . We all have to rise against this scourge of violence against any religion and religious events,” Raina said.
Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation
The Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation headed by Muhammad Yasin Khan has also condemned the attack on Amaranth pilgrims in south Kashmir.
In a statement, Khan who also heads the Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) said in this hour of grief, entire Kashmir is with the families of those bereaved.
Reiterating that Kashmir is a land of communal harmony, Khan appealed the people to be united in this hour of grief and not fall prey to communal forces of divide.
Khan also sought “extra attention” of the government towards the security of Kashmiris Muslims outside Kashmir.