Sopore Killings Evoke Sharp Condemnation1 February 2011
Srinagar: The killing of two young girls in Sopore on Monday evening by unidentified gunmen has evoked sharp reactions with Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, calling the “muted condemnation” of the shocking incident by citizens and separatist leaders as “unfortunate.” The two girls, aged 16 and 18, were dragged out of their house in Sopore and shot dead from point-blank range. Various mainstream and pro-freedom parties while condemning the act described it as barbaric. Speaking on the sidelines of the Chief Ministers’ Conference on Internal Security in New Delhi, Omar said “I find it difficult to understand. Under these circumstances, I doubt anybody would have guts to stand up and say they did it and why they did it.” Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani described the killings barbaric and said, “Islam never allows killings of innocents. This is barbaric act and we strongly condemn it.” Reacting to Chief Minister’s remarks he said, “Whole world knows who gives awards and rewards to those who kill innocent people in Kashmir.” Reacting to the killings, Peoples Conference chairman Sajjad Ghani Lone termed the killings reprehensible and a dastardly and cowardly act. “I share utter contempt for such acts of violence and my condolence is with the family of the deceased. I can understand what must be going on in that family', Lone told a wire service. Asked why there was muted response to the killings from the separatist camp, Lone said that: 'We had 120 kids killed last year during street protests. There was a similar muted response from your leaders (read Indian leadership)'. So, I think it's the same.' Others who condemned the killings included Hurriyat Conference (M), Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, Peoples Democratic Party, Democratic Party (Nationalist), Peoples Democratic Front and MLA Langate, Engineer Rasheed. MLA Rasheed, said that it had become incumbent and obligatory on the militant leadership to make their stand on the incident as the government had blamed the militants for the killings. “If the militants have killed the women, then they should accept it openly and tell the people reasons behind it. But if they have not, then they too should unambiguously condemn it,” the MLA said, expressing deep grief at the killing of the girls. He said that by blaming the killings on militants, the government could not absolve itself of its responsibilities. “The government is, in all respects, bound to protect life and property of people, hence by blaming the militants for killings like Sopore, it can’t absolve itself of its legal and constitutional duties,” Rasheed said.