Sajjad Lone defends separatists silence over killing of Kashmiri girls

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New Delhi, Feb.1 (ANI): The Chairman of the Kashmir-based People's Conference, Sajjad Lone, has refused to directly comment on the silence of separatists with regard to the killing of two young Kashmiri girls allegedly by the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba in Sopore on Monday.

He termed the killing of girls as dastardly and cowardly, but said: "I can speak for myself. I would put my condemnation on record that it is a dastardly act, a cowardly act and it is reprehensible. I share utter contempt for such acts of violence and my condolence is with the family of the deceased. I can understand what must be going on in that family".

Surprisingly, in the same breath, Lone made an odious comparison.

He said: "We had 120 kids killed last year during street protests. There was a similar muted response from your leaders (read Indian leadership)". So, I think it's the same."

"It's very wrong to equate killings, A killing is a killing, a murder, and, we need to condemn all such killings, taking a political color out of it," he added.

Separatists, including both factions of the Hurriyat and the JKLF last year led the four-month-long street protests characterized by stone pelting. More than 120 Kashmiri youth were killed in the bloody street battles with security forces. The agitation led to an estimated loss of over 10,000 crore rupees to the exchequer.

However, the separatists have chosen to remain mum on the killing of the two sisters in Sopore.

Taking on the separatists over their silence on the killing, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said: "Full details about the Sopore incident has yet not come, but it's quite sad that no condemnation of this killing by militants is coming out. If there was any whiff or suggestion that security forces had killed civilians, then the entire valley would have been up in flames."

Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists allegedly killed the two sisters after dragging them out of their house in Sopore in North Kashmir. Seventeen-year-old Arifa and 20-year-old Akhtar were gunned down by three terrorists.

Talking to ANI, Lone said: "Most of the separatists are out of the valley this time. Mirwaiz is out, Yasin is out. I don't think anyone of them is condoning these acts of violence."

ANI has learnt that Yasin Malik is currently staying at Sajjad's residence located on the outskirts of Delhi and is avoiding speaking to the media. By Naveen Kapoor (ANI)

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