New Delhi: A day after seven civilians lost their lives in an explosion at an encounter site in Laroo area of Kulgam district of south Kashmir, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday blamed the Indian security forces for their death and said that solution to the valley’s dispute lay in dialogue. Also Read - 'How Long Can a Person be Detained?' Supreme Court Asks Jammu and Kashmir Administration on Iltija Mufti's Plea
“Strongly condemn the new cycle of killings of innocent Kashmiris by Indian security forces. It is time India realised it must move to resolve the Kashmir dispute through dialogue in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people,” Khan tweeted today. Also Read - Supreme Court to Hear on Tuesday Petition by Iltija, Seeking Release of Mother Mehbooba Mufti
Following the incident, separatists under the banner of Joint Resistance Leadership, a conglomerate headed by Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Yasin Malik called for a valley-wide protest on Monday in protest against the deaths.
Shops, private offices, fuel stations and other business establishments were shut in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said. They said public transport was off the roads while private cars were seen plying in few areas of the city. The strike also affected attendance in government offices and banks, the officials said.
The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), a Kashmiri Pandit organisation Kashmiri Pandit Sangarash Samiti (KPSS) – and All Kashmir Auto-Rickshaw Drivers Association have extended their support to the strike called by the separatists.
Earlier on Sunday, three militants were killed in the encounter, while seven civilians lost their lives and 40 others were left injured in the blast following the gunfight in Kulgam.
The civilians reportedly visited the encounter site immediately after operation concluded while turning down the request by police officials to not do so.
“Civilians visited the encounter site immediately after operation in spite of request not to visit, as a thorough search was underway. After forces withdrew, some explosive substance went off resulting in injuries to civilians,” a J&K police official was quoted as saying by ANI.