Independent legislator and MLA Langate Er Rasheed on Monday led a protest march in Handwara against the killings of seven civilians in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Sunday.

A statement issued by Awami Ittihad Party (AIP) said that hundreds joined the protest march despite restrictions imposed by the authorities in Handwara.

“Protesters with black flags and placards marched towards main Chowk Handwara raising strong slogans in favor of plebiscite and against state terrorism,” said the statement.

Addressing the gathering at main Chowk Handwara, Rasheed reiterated that Kashmiris were not enemies of peace but cannot surrender their legitimate rights.

“It is shameful that rather taking permanent measures to resolve Kashmir dispute forever, New Delhi and its proxies are busy in distorting the facts and accusing Kashmiris who are the worst victims of state terrorism. Whatsoever happened in Kulgam should be condemned by all and there is no excuse to justify these killings,” the statement quoted Rasheed as having said.

He urged the political parties not to “disgrace” the people further and make out a joint strategy to save Kashmir from the further bloodbath, added the statement.

“It is a failure of the political leadership that New Delhi is enjoying our killings and political parties are strengthening their vote bank from Srinagar to New Delhi over dead bodies of Kashmiris.”

Rasheed accused the cops of Jammu and Kashmir Police of “forgetting their basic duties and doing worst to your own people.”

“Someday the local cops may realize that all that they are doing is shameful but till then it may be too late and the gap between masses and the local cops may become unbridgeable. The local cops will have to give up arrogance and understand that J&K dispute is not about silencing Kashmiris through the barrel of the gun but a political dispute that needs a political resolution through Right to Self Determination,” he said, as per the statement.

The protesters, according to the statement, were stopped by a heavy contingent of the police and the CRPF from marching ahead.

“Er. Rasheed along with few colleagues were taken into custody and lodged in police station Handwara,” the statement said.