National Conference on Thursday staged peaceful demonstrations across Pir Panchal region and Chenab Valley to protest against the killing of seven civilians in Pulwama, Kashmir recently.
In Pir Panchal region, NC district bodies staged demonstrations in Rajouri and Poonch.
In Poonch, the protest, staged at district headquarter town, was led by Youth NC provincial president Ajaz Jan. Apart from workers and district chairpersons of the party, a large number of people also participated in the demonstration.
Speaking during the protest, Jan claimed, "Bharatiya Janata Party's policy on Kashmir has been a total failure. The killing of seven civilians in Pulwama is a clear example," adding, "The only way forward is dialogue."
The other speakers underlined a need to end the cycle of bloodshed in Kashmir Valley and said that "killing civilians would further alienate the people of Kashmir."
The protesters also submitted a written memorandum to the district development commissioner, Rahul Yadav, wherein they stated, "Incidents like Pulwama bring a bad name."
Baghhussain Rathore, Ishaq Khan, Abdul Ahad Bhatt, Chowdhary Saleem Khari, Altaf Khatana, Nahjabdin Dar, Master Muzafar, Zaibu Din Qureshi, Aziz Khanater and Surjan Singh, among others also participated in the protest.
A similar demonstration was staged in Rajouri Children's Park by the National Conference district body, in which district president and other party leaders were present. They also raised serious concern over the Pulwama killings and demanded an end to the cycle of bloodshed.
Meanwhile, in Kishtwar, National Conference staged peaceful demonstrations. The protesters, including party functionaries and workers, expressed shock and anguish over the killings and urged the Governor's administration to make security forces "accountable" and ensuring "collateral damages". They also expressed concern over the prevailing atmosphere of mistrust and intolerance that has led to fear psychosis across the state.
In a statement, National Conference central secretary Sajjad Ahmed Kichloo expressed anguish and concern over the "growing" incidents of civilian killings, saying "this must stop forthwith." He asked for the security forces to be held accountable while carrying out operations and ensuring that the civilians are not harmed.
Kichloo also urged the State Human Rights Commission to intervene in this matter and take concrete measures. "Killing civilians can't be accepted and the administration should ensure adherence to Standard Operating Procedure," he maintained.
The former minister assailed the BJP for maintaining mute silence over such killings, saying the party has lost the will to deal in Kashmir as per the path shown by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who believed in addressing the issues in true spirit of Jamhooriayat, Insaanyat and Kashmiryat.
In Ramban, Bataote and Banihal as well, National Conference staged demonstrations, in which the protesters raised slogans against the administration.
They also condemned the killings in Pulwama and asked for the constitution of a Special Investigating Team (SIT) to conduct an in-depth probe.
In Banihal, scores of party workers assembled at Municipal Park in the market and held a demonstration. District president National Conference, Ramban, Sajad Saheen, while speaking on the occasion, urged the state government to ensure that the safety and security of civilians during encounters is top priority.
At district headquarter town Ramban, a demonstration was organized under the leadership of block president National Conference Mohammad Arif Wani. Similarly in Batote, the demonstration, organized under the leadership of provincial secretary Youth National Conference Abid Magray, was staged at Bhaderwah morh.
The protestors carried placards, which had "Genocide of Kashmiris unacceptable" and "Stop killings in Kashmir" inscribed on them.
However, the situation remained peaceful across the regions and no untoward incident was reported during the protests.