Newly formed Kashmir Economic Forum (KEF) has condemned the unabated civilian killings by the forces in the Valley.
The KEF in a statement here today said the central and the state governments should rein in the security forces and police to prevent loss of innocent lives in Kashmir.
The forum condemned in strong terms the "excessive force" being used against the civilians in Kashmir. "It is quite shocking that while more than seventy civilians have been killed, hundreds have been blinded and thousands others injured in the forces firing in Kashmir," the forum said.
Chairman KEF Showkat Chowdhary said the government of India "instead of defusing the tension in the politically fragile Kashmir, has let loose its forces to kill, maim and blind the civilian population mostly teenagers in the Valley."
He said if forces "are not reined in and some concrete steps taken to address the issue, the situation would go out of control."
Chowdhary said the Government of India has shown "crass insensitivity by saying that it would use pellet guns only in the rarest of the rare cases, instead of banning this lethal weapon."
"We demand immediate ban of pellet guns. The Opposition and several MPs have also demanded immediate ban on use of pellet guns," Chowdhary said.
KEF also condemned the deployment of additional forces in Valley particularly the army in South Kashmir.
The forum said the government should talk to "real" stakeholders and engage Hurriyat leaders in meaningful talks instead of bringing in more forces to "suppress the genuine voices of the public."
"Hurriyat is the main stakeholder. There was no proper invitation from Government to Hurriyat for talks with All Party Delegation. Both Central and State governments should take Hurriyat leaders on board for just resolution to Kashmir problem."
KEF also lashed out at BJP for its failure to engage Pakistan in dialogue process. "If the BJP does not want to engage Pakistan in talks, the PDP should on moral grounds end its alliance with the BJP," said Chowdhary.
KEF said they are preparing a comprehensive rehabilitation program for the injured youth and for the families of those who were killed during this unrest.
"We don't want our own people to feel let down. We have a proper rehabilitation program for them which we would announce after Eid," said KEF.
KEF said the business community has from day one decided to support Hurriyat protest calendars issued by the Hurriyat so that the government of India "is pressurized to find a permanent solution to Kashmir problem."
"KEF is an amalgamation of the various traders' bodies from across the sectors including general trade, tourism, education, horticulture, transporters, industries," it said.