Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday expressed grief over the death of two civilians during an encounter between militants and security forces in Anantnag district and urged people to keep away from the conflagration sights. She also called for efforts at all levels to revive the peace and reconciliation process for the larger good of people of the state.
Meanwhile, separatists called for a shutdown tomorrow against what they called “cold-blooded murder” of two civilians and to express “solidarity” with the families of the two militants killed in the gunbattle.
Top Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Bashir Lashkari and his associate Azad Dada, who were wanted in a number of militancy-related incidents including killing of six policemen last month, were gunned down in an encounter with security forces at Brenti-Batpora village in Dialgam this afternoon.
Two civilians, including a 44-year-old woman, were also killed and several others were injured as a stone-pelting mob clashed with security forces in a bid to help the militants flee from the encounter scene. Terming the death of the two civilians as “tragic and unfortunate”, the chief minister appealed to the people to keep away from the points of conflagration so that precious human lives are not lost.
Conveying her sympathies to the bereaved families, Mehbooba said “the vicious cycle of death and destruction confronting Kashmir must end at the earliest and efforts should be made at all levels to revive the peace and reconciliation process for the larger good of the people sandwiched in a gory situation. “We, in Jammu and Kashmir, understand better what the ordeal of violence is, as it has been our fate to live through and survive its frightening and devouring hazards,” she said.
Mehbooba said that for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, suffering over two decades of turmoil, has been a long, dark experience, bloody at times and frustrating at almost every step. “This gory era must end now for the sake of our future generations,” she said.
On the other hand, chairman of hardline Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani, head of moderate Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF chief Yasin Malik issued a joint statement, urging the people to observe a “complete shutdown” on Sunday. “The ruling regime has crossed all limits of repression and killings. Imposition of curfews, restrictions and curbs has become an everyday affair in Kashmir,” they said.