Unequivocal condemnation

Published at July 12, 2017 01:34 AM 0Comment(s)2114views


Unequivocal condemnation

 The attack on Amarnath pilgrims on Monday night in which seven yatris, including five women, were killed shocked entire Kashmir. Killing of unarmed civilians has to be condemned without any reservation, and Kashmiris, who have themselves been the victims in this regard, are very well aware about the pain of losing the dear ones. Hurriyat Conferencecategorically condemned the attack.Mirwaiz Umar Farooq summed up the collective outrage over the incident when he said: "As the unfortunate news of the yatris' killing reaches us, leadership and people of Kashmir are deeply saddened and strongly condemn it. To us, the pilgrims have and will always be respected guests."This is the sentiment that has prevailed in Kashmir for all these years and that is why Amarnath pilgrims felt safe coming here despite the communally charged atmosphere elsewhere in Indiain the wake of the incidents like demolition of Babri Masjid and Gujarat riots.In fact, even during the years when militancy was at its peak in the valley, the Amarnathyatra hashad a relatively smooth run except nature’s periodic intervention. In 1996, more than 200 pilgrims were killed and many more paralyzed in the cold wave resulting from uninterrupted rain. Pilgrims have always had nice things to say about the hospitality of the local Muslim population. Despite the widespread bloodshed in the valley since 1990s, Kashmiris have always extended cooperation to the pilgrims.Hurriyat leaders have, time and again, asserted that they have they have no animosity against people of India and that their fight is only against the Indian state which, they insist, has deprived them of genuine political rights.This is only the second time Amarnathyatris have been killed in Kashmir. In the first such incident in the year 2000, 32 people, including 21, yatris were killed when the base camp for the pilgrimage located at Pahalgam was attacked.A later inquiry into the killing revealed that the main target of the militants were the security forces deployed for protection of the yatris, though many pilgrims became victims when they came under indiscriminate firing. Monday’s attack has also raised crucial questions about the security lapses. As per the official version of the incident, the yatribus was not registered nor were the pilgrims travelling in it. The registered pilgrims and buses movein a convoy along with security cordon.How were unregistered yatrisand buses allowed to travel, despite several check posts? How was the bus allowed to travel well after 7 pm deadline fixed for the movement of yatris? To probe all these angles, the government must initiate a time-bound inquiry into the incident.

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