Kashmir's separatist leaders on Tuesday strongly condemned the killing of two youth in army firing in Handwara and called for a complete shutdown on April 13 against the cold-blooded killings.
In a statement, Geelani—while calling for state-wide shutdown on Wednesday—said these killings are the "highest form of state-sponsored terrorism." He apologized to Sikh community for issuing strike call on April 13—the day of Baisakhi festival—stating that "strikes are our only way to protest innocent killings and the call couldn't be deferred."
Expressing anger over attack on chastity of Kashmir's daughters, JKLF chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik said showering bullets on innocent protestors has "once again allowed forces to put AFSPA on display."
"Present legislators, ministers, and the ruling dispensation are responsible for the Handwara killings. It's the same Assembly that ratified AFSPA and the same Act is giving a license to forces to kill people at will," said Malik. "Attack on chastity of our daughters reflects the brutal face of forces."
Malik urged people to observe complete civil curfew on April 13. He also tendered an apology to Sikh community for calling the strike on Wednesday."
Calling for complete shutdown against the Handwara killings, Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq took a dig at Prime Minister NarenderaModi. "While Modi is speaking about animal protection, his armed forces have just shot dead innocent Kashmiris who were protesting against molestation attempt of a girl student by army personnel in Handwara; several more are injured seriously," Mirwaiz tweeted soon after the killings.
In a statement later, Mirwaiz said Kashmiris whether students or businessmen are being harassed, victimized and targeted in a manner as if an undeclared war has been waged against them.
Mirwaiz said Sikh community is exempted from the strike call in view of Baisakhi festival.
Hurriyat (M) senior leader Bilal Lone regretted the killing of two youth in Handwara, terming the killings as very unfortunate. He demanded punishment to the guilty soldiers.
Democratic Freedom Party chairman Shabir Ahmad Shah also condemned the killings in Handwara.
In a statement, Shah said: "This is the brutal face of occupational forces who have made the killing as their hobby in Kashmir."
Shah said the unbridled powers under AFSPA are only emboldening the Indian Army "that they can go away with civilian killings."
Senior resistance leader Nayeem Ahmed Khan while condemning the killings, said: "Indian forces first tried to molest one of our daughters and when people tried to raise their voice against this heinous crime, the men in uniform opened firing on the peaceful protesters which speaks volumes about the situation in Kashmir. The youth who laid their lives to protect the chastity of our daughters will be remembered forever. Such incidents are intolerable and brave people of Kashmir will raise their voice against such inhuman crimes of the Indian occupational forces."
Jammu and Kashmir People's League Chairman Mukhtar Ahmad Waza, Jammu Kashmir Salvation Movement Chairman Zaffer Akbar Bhat, JKLF (R) Patron Barrister Abdul Majid Tramboo, senior Hurriyat (M) leader Javaid Ahmed Mir and Jamaat-Islami strongly denounced the brutal and gruesome acts by army in Handwara.
J&K High Court Bar Association, while strongly condemning the killing of innocent youths, said: "Bar supports the strike call for April 13."
"The Bar Association feels that going by the spree of killing of innocent Kashmiris at the hands of army, time has come when the world community should wake up and get these brute army personnel tried by an internationally-constituted War Crimes Tribunal, for their barbaric and inhuman acts of molestation, rape, murder, arson, loot and plunder in Kashmir," a Bar statement read.
Senior separatist leaders Muhammad YousufNaqash, and President Muslim Democratic League Hakeem Abdul Rashid castigated forces for resorting to "state terrorism" in Handwara.
Democratic Political Movement chairman Firdous Shah also condemned the killing of innocent youth. Tehreek-e-Muzahamat chairman Bilal Sidiqui also condemned the killing of two youths by army in Handwara.
Hurriyat (M) leader Syed SalimGeelani and Democratic Liberation Party chairman Hashim Qureshi also condemned the Handwara killings.
The Kashmir Inc also condemned the killing of two youths.
Terming the killings as "cold-blooded murder", president of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mushtaq Ahmad Wani, said: "It is highly deplorable and inhuman act. Government has not been able to control its forces. Killings have been occurring on regular basis and there has been no action against the killers."
Kashmir Traders and Manufactures Federation (KTMF) headed by Muhammad Yasin Khan also condemned the killings in Handwara. Another faction of KTMF headed by Bashir Ahmed Rather also condemned the killings and demanded revocation of AFSPA.
United Automobiles Shopkeepers Federation, Hilal Ahmed Mando, also condemned the killings and demanded revocation of AFSPA.
Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry has condemned the killing of two youth in Handwara town and demanded an impartial probe into the whole incident.
KCCI president Mushtaq Ahmad Wani said the killings of the youth are very unfortunate and the government must call an impartial probe into the killings.