M Ahmad Parray
Srinagar, July 11: The attack that left seven Amaranth pilgrims dead and nineteen others injured has evoked spate of condemnation on social media as well as people from other walks of life.
“Shame Shame Shame,” wrote a youth on social media, condemning the killing. “It’s inhuman and barbaric. This is an act of cowardice, a terrorist attack. May good sense prevail,” wrote Ubaid Shafi, another netizen.
“Every single Kashmiri organisation, including those seen as Islamist and using violence for resistance (such as LeT), have condemned killings of Hindu pilgrims. Most people who helped the pilgrims are Kashmiri Muslim; the driver who through his presence of kind saved more lives is Kashmiri muslim.
But are those Indians who are baying for blood [of Kashmiri muslims] in revenge even listening or noticing?” asked Dibyesh Anand.
Another netizen, Gowhar Geelani likened the attack to killings and wounding of people in Valley during last year’s unrest triggered by the death of Hizb commander Burhan Wani.
“Those who have not said or written a word against 120 civilian killings, 2000 pelleted eyes, torture of teenagers,16000 injuries and nearly 8000 arrests automatically lose all the moral right to be preachy. Period. ”
Baba Umar, one more netizen, called for ask questions on who carried out the attack. “Was it an attack on pilgrims or the soldiers? And who benefits from it? Use brains. Go back to the history as well.”
Tariq Jameel, another Cybercitizen said reacted sharply to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s statement calling the attack as a “blot on all Muslims and Kashmiris”.
“She seems to have watched a lot of Tarek Fatah videos lately. In an environment, when both, Muslims and Kashmiris are being targeted for their identity, this bloody vilification is the last thing we need,” wrote Jameel.
The he outpouring of condemnation touched people from all walks of life.
Trade associations, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries and citizen groups held protest marches and a sit-in at Lal Chowk, the historic Srinagar square, and asked the government to “bring the culprits to book”.
Monday’s attack was the fourth in 17 years, including the August 2000 massacre of 30 pilgrims and local porters who help the devotees trek an arduous route to the cave shrine that has an ice stalagmite seen as a symbol of Shiva.
Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said the act “makes heads of all Kashmiris hang in shame”. She went to Srinagar airport to pay floral tributes to the six women and a man killed in the attack on an unescorted bus from Gujarat.
Mufti consoled the bereaved families and said the gruesome act has shaken the edifice of Kashmiri ethos and culture and people across the board have condemned it.
Her predecessor and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah implored that it’s time to take a stand.
“This is a moment for us to define ourselves. Are we willing to abandon the whataboutary & take a stand. No terror & murder in our names,” he said in a series of tweets.
Hurriyat Conference leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik condemned the attack minutes after killings became known.
They said in a statement: “The annual Amarnath yatra has been going on peacefully for centuries and is part of our yearly rhythm and will remain so.”
The Mirwaiz said the attack cannot be condoned even if it was on police patrol and the pilgrims were caught up in the crossfire.
“It has hit the very ethos of Kashmir and is highly shameful. The pilgrims have been our guests for centuries and they cannot be harmed,” said the Mirwaiz, the Valley’s top cleric.
The jailed chairman of the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), Shabir Ahmad Shah, said such acts are completely inhuman, and demanded an impartial investigation.