Hundreds of academics, students, activists and traders, holding placards saying “silence is criminal”, “every life is valuable’’ etc, organised sit-ins in Srinagar on Tuesday to condemn the killing of Amarnath pilgrims. “We feel the pain of these yatris…,” said rights activists Khurram Parvez. “We know what a killing means. Kashmiris are very conscious of this pain and therefore we do not want this pain to be inflicted on anyone.’’ Parvez said that civilian killings have always outraged Kashmiris. “…we have always expressed the demand that there should be fair investigations into these mysterious killings.”
Academic Sidiq Wahid said there is not a single Kashmiri who is not saddened. “But the other extreme is that we are all angry because of the kind of ambiguity, kind of uncertainty that has surrounded this horrible incident.’’
Protesters started pouring in groups from early Tuesday to protest against the killing. A group of social activists arrived first, followed by representatives of the Valley’s tour and travel operators, political activists and the members of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI). “Our pain and condemnation is beyond words,” said social activist Irfan Hafiz Lone.
A student said that they have assembled to voice their condemnation against the brutal killing. “This (attack) is against the ethos of Kashmir,” he said. “We do not know who has done it. But whosoever has done it, he cannot be a friend of humanity.’’
Many questioned the “selective outrage”. “We believe that no one deserves to be killed, raped or blinded. We feel that people of India should come forward and express the same kind of outrage which Kashmiris are expressing on the killing of Indians,” said Parvez. “There has to be an equal outrage in India as well when Kashmiri civilians are killed.’’ He added that there is no outrage when Kashmiris are “killed, raped or blinded’’. “We do not want these killings to be used against the Kashmiri people to further legitimise the violence against people of Kashmir.’’
Former KCCI president Ibrahim Shahdad, who led a procession against the killings, said that Kashmiris will continue to host yatris wholeheartedly. “It is a part of our composite culture. Nobody should ever be harassed or killed in the name of religion.”