NATIONAL

Mainstream, separatist parties condemn blast

Shujaat Bukha ri

SRINAGAR: The blast in Pulwama which killed 15 people on Monday has been condemned by mainstream and separatist organisations alike. The hard-line faction of the Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Geelani and militant outfit Al Umar Mujahideen has called for a protest bandh on Tuesday.

Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed termed it a "barbaric act". "It is not acceptable in any civilised society," he told The Hindu . Mr. Sayeed said such incidents will not help the cause of peace but "I am confident that this will expose those who are working against peace." He extended condolences to the bereaved families and said all possible help will be extended to them.

"Inhuman act"

Opposition National Conference president Omar Abdullah said it was an "inhuman act." He demanded a high level probe into the explosion.

Former Chief Minister and Patron of the National Conference Farooq Abdullah also condemned the blast and termed it "most heinous and condemnable" and said all the promises made by the coalition Government to bring peace with dignity and healing touch had proved to be empty.

CPI (M) state secretary M.Y. Tarigami said it was the worst example of inhumanity. "The Government should order a high level inquiry into it and bring the guilty to book," Mr. Tarigami said.

"Deep-rooted conspiracy"

Mr. Geelani, who for the first time condemned such an incident, called for a total bandh to protest against the killing of innocents. "The blast is part of a deep-rooted conspiracy to harm the ongoing freedom struggle in the State. We demand an impartial inquiry into the incident to bring the culprits to book," he said, but gave a clean chit to the militants. "Such incidents cannot be the handiwork of those who are sacrificing their lives for the sacred cause of freedom," he added.

"Indian agencies" blamed

Hizb-ul-Mujahideen supreme commander Salahuddin alleged that it was the handiwork of "Indian agencies" to create a wedge between militants and the people. In a statement from Muzaffarabad, he said "freedom fighters cannot do this."

People Conference chairman Sajjad Lone expressed grief over the loss of innocent lives and said the blast was deplorable. Jamat-e-Islami while supporting the bandh call demanded a high-level inquiry.

Another separatist leader Javid Ahmad Mir, who heads the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Forum (JKLF), also condemned the blast and demanded an impartial probe. PDP spokesperson Basharat Bukhari said: "It is time to end violence and give peace a chance."

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