Separatists in the Kashmir Valley have called for a bandh Monday over the death of seven civilians in an explosion at an unsanitised encounter site in Kulgam district Sunday. The announcement for the strike was made by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, under the banner of Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), after three militants were killed in the encounter with security forces.
Taking to Twitter, Farooq announced, “To strongly condemn and protest the mayhem unleashed in Kulgam by the ruthless Indian state in which so far five civilians and three armed youth killed, besides injuries to tens of scores of injured, JRL calls for complete #Shutdown tomorrow, JRL will hold a #ProtestSitin on Tuesday at Lal Chowk.”
To strongly condemn &protest the mayhem unleashed in Kulgam by the ruthless Indian state in which so far 5 civilians & 3 armed youth killed besides injuries to tens of scores of injured,JRL calls for complete #Shutdown tomorrow,JRL will hold a #ProtestSitin on Tuesday at LaLchowk
— Mirwaiz Umar Farooq (@MirwaizKashmir) October 21, 2018
According to health officials, more than 30 people were injured in the explosion and the clashes between stone-throwing youths and security forces when the encounter was underway.
Extending their support to the bandh, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), in a statement said, “In an emergency meeting held on Sunday, the executive committee of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry expressed its shock and concern at the sharp increase in the use of brutal force against the unarmed civilians of Kashmir,” PTI reported.
“The seemingly endless loss of innocent Kashmiri lives is a matter of pain and anguish for all of us. The KCCI offers its deepest condolences to the families of innocent unarmed civilians and requests the business community to observe a complete shutdown on Monday as a mark of protest against the brutalisation of our population,” the statement added.
The bandh was also backed by the Kashmiri Pandit Sangarash Samiti (KPSS), saying it is mandatory for security forces to sanitise the area where the encounter takes place to safeguard the lives of the civilians. “We feel the pain of killing of civilians and injuries during cordon and search operation in Kulgam,” KPSS president Sanjay Tickoo said in a statement.
“It seems that the security forces take these basic things casually, which resulted in Sunday’s incident. While Kashmir is being pushed back to the 1990 era by people’s alienating policies by the political parties, the Central establishment is enjoying the so-called victory in the Kashmir valley and is not bothered to diffuse current political turmoil in the valley,” he added.