OPPOSITION, MUSLIM GROUPS SLAM ATTACK ON AMARNATH PILGRIMS AS INHUMAN

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Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti with Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh meeting the injured pilgrims in a hospital in Anantnag on July 10, 2017. In a rare attack on the Amarnath Yatra, terrorists killed seven pilgrims and injured 14 others, including policemen, when they struck at a bus carrying them in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantang district. (Photo: IANS)

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI — The Opposition parties, Muslim organizations and activists on Tuesday strongly condemned the killing of yatris in Kashmir describing it an attack on the human values and tolerant ethos of Kashmir.

While urging the government to resume dialogue process with all stakeholders in the Valley immediately, they also said the government must introspect as to why, despite advance intelligence inputs, was there a failure to prevent this attack.

Read: SEVEN AMARNATH YATRA PILGRIMS KILLED IN MILITANT ATTACK IN KASHMIR

Opposition leaders, who gathered at Parliament Library Building, to select their candidate for the election of vice-president here passed a resolution in the meeting.

The resolution states:

“We, the leaders of the Opposition Parties, strongly condemn the cowardly & ghastly terrorist attack on the Amarnath yatris. We extend our deepest sympathies to the families of the victims and stand with them in this hour of grief. This is an attack on humanity. This is an attack on the plurality and diversity of India. This is an attack on the human values and Kashmiriyat.

“We call upon the government to use all the resources at its command to bring the real masterminds and perpetrators of this inhuman act to justice. The government needs to introspect as to why, despite advance intelligence inputs, was there a failure to prevent this attack?”

While expressing heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families, the CPI (M) said the people of Kashmir have always viewed the Amarnath shrine as part of its syncretic heritage. It said the attack on the pilgrims signifies the rise of “religious extremism” within the ranks of the militants.

“One of the aims of this attack is to deepen the communal divide. It is important that this provocation does not succeed. This can be accomplished by ensuring that peace and communal harmony prevail in Jammu & Kashmir and the rest of the country,” the CPI (M) said in a statement.

Joining the condemnation, Muslim groups also said the attack is against the ethos of Kashmir and Islam.

Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (M) said, “The attack on Amarnath yatris has caused great pain to us. We condemn this cowardly terrorist attack and express our deep condolences to the families of the dead and prayers for injured.”

Jamiat’s General Secretary Maulana Mahmood Madani said that such kind of terrorist attacks have nothing to do with any religion and faith. He asserted that Islam does not allow targeting women and worshippers even during the course of a war.

“Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, which has launched a movement against terrorism, for the last two decades has always stressed upon the need for common struggle against the scourge of terrorism without any affiliation to religion and creed.”

Jamiat also sought an investigation into the incident and exemplary punishment for the culprits. Madani also drew the attention of the government towards the divisive forces who use such incidents to fan communal passions in the country.

The Welfare Party of India described it as “cowardly act” stating that it is against the tolerant ethos of Kashmir. Party president Dr SQR Ilyas blamed the PDP-BJP’s “opportunist alliance” for the present situation in the state, and urged the government to start a dialogue with all the stakeholders immediately.

Meanwhile, peace and human rights activists also strongly condemned the killing of Amarnath yatris saying it goes against the grain of Kashmiri ethos of religious tolerance. It also called for an immediate inquiry into the tragic incident as raised questions about the security lapse.In a statement, they said, “There can be no justification for any violence and killing, much less of unarmed, innocent people. The victims were not men in uniform, able to return fire, but unarmed civilians making a journey that was sacred to them”.

They urged the militants to immediately stop targeting and attacking unarmed civilians. In 2016, when the Valley was in the grip of high violence, local Kashmiris had come to the aid of the stranded yatris, gave them shelter and sent them home safely.

“We also call upon the government of India to immediately set up an independent inquiry into this tragic incident as it is not clear how this bus carrying a large number of Amarnath yatris had no security cover and how it was able to travel around Kashmir during these difficult days without the knowledge of the authorities. It is necessary to identify the lapses in the security arrangements and establish the facts that led to this tragedy of the bus carrying pilgrims getting caught in the crossfire between the police and the militants. This is necessary to prevent any such tragedy in future,” the statement added.

They also asked the government to start a process of dialogue and consultation with all the stakeholders that alone could isolate the elements propagating and resorting to violence, and bring peace to a region devastated by unnecessary conflict for decades.

The statement was signed by Anuradha Bhasin (Jammu), Harsh Mandar (Delhi), Jatin Desai (Mumbai), Mazher Hussain (Hyderabad), Ravi Nair ( Delhi), Sandeep Panday (Lucknow),  and  Tapan Bose (Delhi).

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