Scores of civil society members including businessmen, tourism players, academicians and journalists held a demonstration at Pratap Park in Srinagar’s near Press Enclave to condemn the killings of Amaranth Yatris at Batengoo.
Seven Yatris died when suspected militants engaged in a gunfight with forces personnel near Batengoo on Srinagar Jammu highway in southern part of Kashmir.
Displaying banners, the protesters arrived at the Park at 5:30 pm amidst the presence of a battery of media persons fro local as well as Indian media.
Forming a hurdle, the protesters raised slogans against a mainland Indian news channel for stoking communal tensions in the valley and portraying negativity.
Several prominent civil society members addressed the gathering.
The speakers in unison demanded that all the massacres carried out by forces and other agencies should be probed by independent Human Rights Organisations.
Khurram Parvez, program coordinator JKCCS, who coordinated the protest, while speaking to media persons on the sidelines of the demonstration, said, “From Gaw Kadal massacre to Batengo killings we demand that United Nations Human Rights Council should probe the incidents of killings.” Such acts are committed to defame our “struggle for freedom”.
Traders leaders’ questioned as to why Indian media was being selective while covering Kashmnir.
Muhammad Yasin Khan, chairperson of Kashmir Economic Alliance questioned as to why is Indian Media selective in its coverage and outrage. Why are they silent when Kashmiris are being killed and maimed.
The participants reiterated that Kashmiris do not trust the investigations conducted by the Indian investigating agencies.
“We do not trust the Indian investigation agencies and hence want probe by international agencies,” Abdul Majeed Zargar said.
The members stated that the demonstration is being held to demonstrate the syncretic culture of Kashmir valley.
“We express solidarity with those who were killed in Batengoo attack. We are here to demonstrate Kashmir’s syncretic culture and condemn the killings of Yatris,” Gowhar Geelani, a journalist said.
Others who spoke on the occasion asked Yatris to come to Kashmir and let Kashmiris serve them and showcase their hospitality.
Mazoor Ahmad Wangnoo, a renowned businessman requested Yatris to come Kashmir. “Give us a chance to exhibit hospitality.”