THE CITIZEN BUREAU | 16 FEBRUARY, 2019
Regional parties express concern over safety of Kashmiris
SRINAGAR: Dozens of videos showing Kashmiris facing communal backlash in different parts of the country following the deadly Valentines Day suicide bombing in Pulwama district have gone viral on social media.
The situation is especially tense in the Jammu region where the Army has been called in and a curfew has been clamped to defuse tensions following widespread violence by Hindu rightwing activists against Kashmiris.
Reports said the rightwing activists, chanting ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and “Desh Kay Ghadharo Ko, Goli Maro Salun Ko’, went on a rampage across the city, torching nearly three dozen cars and beating up at least 10 persons. Officials said dozens of vehicles were badly damaged by the rampaging mobs.
The rightwing activists also staged marches in specific localities in Jammu while the houses of Kashmiris, who migrate to the region to escape the Valley’s harsh winters, were attacked with stones.
The violence broke out after a call for Jammu Bandh was given by the Jammu Chambers of Commerce and Industry which was backed by the Jammu Bar and other outfits in the region.
“They pelted stones at our house, shouting that all Kashmiris should leave the city or prepare to die. The situation is getting uglier. We have packed our belongings and will be leaving as soon as possible,” Mohammad Iqbal, a Kashmiri businessman who owns a house in Khati Talab area of Jammu said over phone.
One video from Jammu shows a saffron-stole clad man, surrounding by other men chanting inflammatory slogans, catching hold of two men, who appear to be Kashmiris. The sloganeering men then start assaulting the two men before the video end abruptly.
In another video, a group of saffron-clad, tricolour waving mob tearing down a flex banned apparently outside a market in Jammu where Kashmiris sell winter garments.
Yet another video shot in Bihar shows a group of Hindu rightwing activists flinging out the stock of garment sellers while threatening them to leave the state within 24 hours or be prepared to face the consequences.
When a woman, apparently a local, objects to the behaviour of the mob, she is told that 45 CRPF men have been killed in Kashmir and Kashmiris will have to face the consequences.
Officials said curfew will remain in place in Jammu today to prevent any deterioration of law and order situation, “Army has been staging flag marches which has restored a semblance of normalcy. But are are monitoring the situation closely,” SSP Jammu, Tejinder Singh, said.
In the backdrop of rising communal tensions, the regional political parties including National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party have expressed concern over the safety of Kashmiris living in different parts of the country.