Condemning the civilian killings in Shopian, Kashmir-based trade and business organisations on Sunday extended support to the protest programme issued by the Joint Resistance Leadership, saying business houses are 'ready to sacrifice business losses for retaining dignity and honour'.
Muhammad Yaseen Khan, president, Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) said business houses are "willing to sacrifice the business but atrocities which have evolved into worst ever humanitarian crises unleashed by the government forces are intolerable".
Khan extended full support to the protest programme issued by Joint Resistance Leadership.
"Kashmir is a dispute and needs to be resolved for sustainable peace in the subcontinent," Khan said, adding, "What is more pinching that instead of feeling guilty of the atrocities the PDP-led government has pampered the trigger-friendly forces."
Referring to the recent bloodbath in Shopian, Khan, who also heads the Kashmir Economic Alliance, said, "There was a visible design in the pattern of killings. This is an attempt to scare the people but let the government understand that we are a resilient nation," Khan said.
"This can no longer go on like this. We cannot see our people especially youth being killed every day. It is genocide of Kashmiris," said Javed Ahmed Tenga, president, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).
He said members of business fraternity are 'deeply' saddened that civilian killings are taking place frequently which has made the situation worse in Kashmir and KCCI extends its support to the JRL protest programme.
"It is high time that the government stops these killings forthwith. We have been on record, in our representation to the government, we told them that the only way is negotiating with all stakeholders for peaceful settlement of Kashmir without any preconditions," Tenga said.
Nazir Ahmad Shah, chairman, Shehr-e-Khaas Traders Coordination Committee said bloodshed and mayhem, especially civilian killings, is unacceptable.
"Life has been badly hit and we have lost dignity and honour. Downtown Srinagar is turned into a fortress every time prevailing situation runs out of hand," Shah said. "For last two days life in downtown has come to a standstill due to strict restrictions which we oppose," Shah said. President of the committee, Bashir Ahmad Kenu, said an emergency meeting was held today in which it support to the JRL call was announced.
Farooq Ahmad Dar, co-chairman of his faction of KEA said the killings of almost 40 civilians since last two months is a matter of deep concern. Dar said "certain elements" in the government such as cabinet ministers are clearly anti-people and "are following a deep rooted controversy hatched in Nagpur".
"We will be marching towards the civil secretariat tomorrow on its opening day to protest civilian killings and inaction of the state government. We are ready to sacrifice our trade but cannot bear the tyranny. Let government put a foot forward or else it will face a similar agitation as 2016," Dar said.
Bashir Ahmad Rather, president of his faction of KTMF strongly condemned the civilian killings and said they are not "acceptable at any cost" while supporting the JRL programme.
"The promises of government at centre and state that peace talks will be held are a farce. There has to be an end to civilian killings otherwise we will stir an agitation and hit the roads," Rather said. "The statement by PM Narendra Modi that he will embrace Kashmiris is a farce. He wants our children to have pens in hands and not stones but the killings are forcing our youth to come on roads," Rather said.
Aijaz Shahdhar, chief spokesperson of Kashmir Traders Federation also condemned the killings and restrictions imposed by authorities.
"The clampdown by authorities has choked us. There has to be a resolution of the Kashmir issue in tune with common peoples aspirations," Shahdhar said.