Just eight days ahead of Panchayat polls in Kashmir, both the factions of separatist Hurriyat Conferences have asked armed men “not to kill people for ideologies”.
“In a democratic set-up people should be allowed to express their points of view and ideology. Killing a person for an ideology is not only inhuman but also un-Islamic. Such acts should be condemned,” said Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in a speech recently while referring to last week’s killing of senior National Conference (NC) leader Ghulam Mohiuddin Bhat.
Unidentified gunmen killed Bhat, a contractor, on March 30 near his house in south Kashmir’s Tral area, 60 km south of Srinagar. The J&K police blamed the indigenous Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit for the killing.
Bhat’s killing is seen as the first major political killing by militants before the polls to instill a sense of fear among the masses. Panchayat polls will be held in Jammu and Kashmir from April 13. The 16-phase polls will see more than five million voters choosing 4,130 village heads and 29,719 Panchayat members in 143 developmental blocks of the state.
Hardline separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani too has condemned the recent killings. “The tragic killings of a seven-year-old girl in Kupwara, a retired doctor in Shopian and now Bhat are condemnable. It shows that the crime graph is rising and intolerance is growing in our society,” said Geelani, who has given a boycott call against the polls.
The largest militant outfit Hizb spokesman Ehsan Ilahi’s statement followed Geelani’s. “Hizb’s constitution is based on the Quran and Sunnah (the sayings of Muhammad). It cannot, therefore, allow the killing of any innocent person irrespective of his affiliation with any religion or social and political organisation,” said Ilahi.
Ilahi was quick to add: “However, anyone who is working as an informer for the armed forces and is involved in getting militants and pro-freedom people killed really deserves a punishment. But killing a person simply on the basis of suspicion and without investigation is sheer injustice and a highly condemnable act.”