SRINAGAR - Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed finally broke his silence on the violent occurrences in Sopore where unknown gunmen have killed six people over the last three weeks.

Soon after a former militant with Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Aijaz Ahmad Reshi, was shot dead by two unidentified gunmen in Mandji area of Sopore on Monday morning, an official spokesperson said in a press statement that a "time bound probe" has been ordered into the killings.

"Chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has taken a serious view of the civilian killings in Sopore. A meeting of Unified Headquarters has been convened on June 17 and directions have been issued to the home department for stepping up investigations and providing secure environment to all civilians," the spokesperson said.

However, the spokesperson didn't give out details on who will conduct the inquiry, the nature of the inquiry and the time stipulated for the inquiry commission to finish the probe.

A senior J&K police officer said the killings in Sopore have triggered a migration among the families of political activists from both sides of the political spectrum in the state, "Around three dozen people including former militants and activists from mainstream and Hurriyat camps have fled the town, fearing reprisal from the gunmen," he said.

The spate of mysterious killings has also united the hawks and doves in Hurriyat Conference who jointly called for a shutdown in the state on Wednesday. A meeting of Hurriyat was held on Monday at the historic Jama Masjid in Srinagar between the representatives of both hardline and moderate factions of Hurriyat, and pro-freedom JKLF, to chart out a strategy arising in the aftermath of events in Sopore.

Moderate Hurriyat chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq chaired the meeting which was attended by Syed Ali Geelani's Tehreek-e-Hurriyat leaders - Altaf Ahmad Shah and Mehraj-u-din Kalwal, and Noor Mohammad Kalwal, Mohammad Altaf Khan and Ajmal Khan of Yasin Malik's JKLF.

Moderate Hurriyat spokesperson, Shahid-ul-Islam, who also participated in the meeting, said that a "unanimous" decision was taken to call for a general strike on Wednesday against the killings and 'Sopore Chalo' on Friday.

"All the three leaders; Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, will address a joint public meeting in Sopore after the Friday congregational prayers," he told The Citizen.

The strike and rally call has also been supported by Shabir Ahmad Shah-led Jammu Kashmir Hurriyat Conference and Nayeem Khan's National Front.

Malik visited the town on Monday and met the family of latest victim, Aijaz Ahmad Reshi, to share their grief. A march was led by Malik from Chankhan via Jamia Masjid, Khanqah, Sofi Hamam and Batapora before it concluded at Sopore's main chowk.

"Sopore is a fort of resistance. Its fall will be detrimental to freedom movement but we won’t let it fall. This (Sopore Killings) is all related to Indian defence minister Manohar Parrikar’s plan of ending ‘terrorism with terrorism," he said.

Protesters, comprising of youth, old men and women shouted anti-India, pro-Pakistan, pro-freedom and pro-Geelani slogans at the rally.