Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) today termed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's statement on Kashmir as a "futile attempt" at underplaying the ongoing struggle in the valley.
Modi yesterday reached out to the people of turbulent Kashmir and indicated a willingness to hold dialogue under the framework of 'insaniyat (humanity), jamhuriyat (democracy) and Kashmiriyat'.
"To connect the 70-year-old struggle for freedom and liberty of the people of this state with development and livelihood issues is indicative of the delusion that the Indian state seems to be suffering from," KCCI said in a statement, reacting to Modi's remarks.
It said the "present turmoil" draws sustenance from the "unconditional support" of all the peace-loving people of the state and "cannot by any stretch of imagination be termed as the handiwork of a handful of misguided elements".
"It was sad that the Prime Minister had no words of sympathy for the innocents killed, blinded, disfigured and maimed during the past one month," the KCCI said adding "the brutality with which children, women, and teenagers have been attacked have found no mention in the Prime Minister's remarks".
KCCI also criticised chief minister Mehbooba Mufti for her reported statement that the present turmoil is "Halla Gulla" (commotion).
"The reported statement of Mehbooba Mufti according to which she has termed the present turmoil as 'Halla Gulla' was also unanimously condemned. The Chamber termed the statement as insensitive and inappropriate," the statement said.
It also expressed "surprise" at the statement of the acting Director General of state Police SK Mishra, asking shopkeepers to defy separatists strike call and assuring protection to them.
"The statement is aimed at dividing the business community of the state. The business community, including the shopkeepers, are fully supporting the ongoing phase of the struggle and out rightly reject such statements and offers," the KCCI said.
Meanwhile, Hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani termed Prime Minister's remarks as "ridiculous" and "irresponsible".