SRINAGAR: Hours after Union MoS PMO Jitendra Singh praised people for condemning the militant attack on Amarnath yatris, the separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti Wednesday hailed people of Kashmir for showing their unequivocal condemnation against killing of yatris and rushing to provide aid and assistance to the injured pilgrims in hospitals.
In a joint statement, Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik said it was highly commendable that despite being subject to severe state brutalization and unprecedented repression for decades, people of Kashmir have retained their humanitarian values and belief in the great Kashmir ethos is intact.
Seven Amarnath pilgrims including six women were killed and 19 injured when militants attacked their bus at Botengoo area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Monday evening.
The separatist leaders, who spearheaded the over five month long unrest in Valley last year after killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani, said protests by people against attack on yatris and participation of all segments of society in these protests was heartening.
“This should serve as an eye opener to those, who encourage polarization as a political tool and leave no stone unturned to demonize Kashmiri people through media,” the leaders said.
Several trade bodies including Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, travel and tourism players and civil society groups yesterday held silent protest in Srinagar to protest attack on Amarnath yatris.
Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti also praised people for condemning attack on yatris.
“The response and reaction shown by people of State to killing of seven Amarnath yatris shows that the spirit of Kashmiryat is alive and much vibrant today. People of the State have rejected despotic acts despite themselves being victims of violence for decades,” she said.
She said the vehemence with which every section of society, irrespective of ideology, condemned the killings shows that the ethos for which the State is known is intact and vibrant.
The efforts of local youth in donating blood to the injured yatries, help in rescue operations by local villagers or the dharna organised by members of civil society comprising students, traders, lawyers, activists, writers and others at Lal Chowk yesterday is an eye opener to those who are hell bent on dividing the people of the State on communal or regional lines, added CM.
According to her, Amarnath yatra was an old practice in Kashmir, which is predominantly supported, conducted and helped by local Muslim community.
“The beauty of Kashmir’s tolerant character is that the cave shrine was discovered by a local Muslim and even today Kashmiri Muslims are seen helping and serving yatries all along the route,” she added.
Meanwhile, market in tourist resort of Pahalgam near the base camp of the Amarnath yatra observed complete shutdown today to protest against killing of seven pilgrims.
The shops and business establishments in Pahalgam tourist resort remained close as a mark of protest against attack on Amarnath pilgrims.
The 40-day annual yatra to the 3,880 metre high cave shrine of Amarnath commenced from both 28.2 km traditional Pahalgam route in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district and 9.5 kms Batal route in Ganderbal district of central Kashmir from June 29 and will end on 'Raksha Bandhan' on August 7.