Vol. XLIII No. 09 March 04, 2019

Attacks on Kashmiri People; Government Remained in Slumber

Tikender Singh Panwar

PULWAMA fedayeen attack killed more than 40 personnel of the CRPF on February 14. There was widespread condemnation in the country at the ghastly killing. However, the ‘sangh’ and its outfits were more concerned at targeting the Kashmiri people, who either are students or work in different parts of the country, by attacking them, abusing them. There were series of attacks and intimidation of Kashmiri people in the country, more than 44 incidents were reported. Students hailing from Kashmir were commented upon in different parts. Of the 11 states, where such incidents were reported, majority are under the BJP rule.
The Supreme Court of India(SC) had to intervene on a public interest litigation (PIL). It asked the chief secretaries and DGP’s of these states to ensure that the safety of the Kashmiri people is secured and such incidents do not happen. A bench headed by Ranjan Gogoi the CJI, said that those officers who were earlier appointed as nodal officers to deal with lynching incidents, would now be responsible to deal with cases of assaults on Kashmiris.
But why is it that the apex court had to intervene despite an elected government in the country. It is believed that though the prime minister also condemned the attack on Kashmiri students after 11 days; such is his classical style of governance. This was practiced in Godhra, Gujarat where the administration was allegedly kept on hold and the rioters were allowed to kill the people. Similarly, the PM kept quiet and allowed such attacks and intimidation to take place. It is only whence there was large scale condemnation from different quarters including the judiciary that he reacted. 
More than 50 incidents of physical attacks, threats and intimidation have been reported in the country. These attacks include a physical attack on three shawl vendors in Delhi; an attack on a journalist working in Pune for 1.5 years named Jibran Nazir Dar whose left wrist was broken. 
In Yavatmal, Kashmiri students were beaten up by Shiv Sena hoodlums.  A Kashmiri youth named Abid Malik was booked for allegedly posting derogatory remarks on facebook. No surprise that the complaint was filed by a VHP office bearer.
Dehradun witnessed the largest number of attacks on the Kashmiri students. There was mass exodus where more than 280 students were forced to leave the town owing to threats at the behest pro- ‘Hindutva’ groups. A girl student hailing from Kashmir posted on the social media, “Please save us from these goons.” 
Two students were beaten up by hoodlums of pro-right groupin Mumbai, when they found out that both of them were from Kashmir. A shawl trader hailing from Budgam, district was beaten up by a mob in West Bengal.
Fellowship of two Kashmiri girls was cancelled by the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) for allegedly posting adverse remarks against the Indian army on a what’s app group. In Muzaffarnagar and Mansoorpur,in  UP, Kashmiri workers were forced to leave their work in a sugar mill and had to go back to Kashmir. 
Three Kashmiri students who were pursuing BSc nursing in Bangalore were booked for their allegedly ‘anti national and derogatory comments’ on social media over the Pulwama attack. Likewise, students from Noida IIMT and Gurgaon were booked. In Lovely Private University Jalandhar, Salman Shaheen a professor of English was forced to resign after a morphed text of a facebook post by him was circulated in social media.
Photos exhibiting ‘Kashmiri’s are not allowed’ are rampantly shown on the social media mainly emanating from Agra.
Four girl students from Kashmir were suspended by NIMS university in Rajasthan for allegedly raising anti-national slogans. Likewise, two students from SUS Engineering college Jalandhar were also suspended.
A Kashmiri doctor living in Kolkata for 22 years, was intimidated by threats that he should leave the city. In Jammu, several properties owned by Kashmiris were targeted by irate mobs. 
Nearly 60 Kashmiri traders fled Ramgarh in Haryana leaving their goods behind. Stones were pelted on their shops. Similarly, landowners in Mohali were issued threats that the Kashmiri students should be evicted from their rented accommodations. In Quantum University Roorkee seven Kashmiri students were rusticated for allegedly posting anti-national post on social media. 
Kashmiri artisans were taunted by visitors at an exhibition in Himachal Bhawan in Chandigarh. Many of them had to leave after such comments. More than 500 Kashmiri students in Ambala felt threatened after a sarpanch of Mullanapanchayat, gave local residents a day’s ultimatum to‘throw out Kashmiris’ living on rent. 
If that was not enough then we saw that the Meghalaya governor gave a call to boycott everything Kashmiri!
There are many more cases which have not been reported, but all point to a fact that the governance was deliberately kept at a distance to ensure that such incidents gallop and create a polarisation that suits the BJP more than anyone else. However, people have once again shown their grit in coming forward and exhibiting their brotherhood which is so essential in the times we pass through.
In response to an SOS, CPI(M) leaders Brinda Karat, Subhashini Ali (polit bureau members), K M Tewari-state secretary of  CPI(M), Delhi and others rushed to a hospital in West Delhi where three Kashmiri shawl sellers were admitted. They had been badly beaten up in a local train on their way to Haryana. With the intervention of the CPI(M), anFIR was filed. Earlier, in spite of repeated desperate calls made by the victims, the police had not responded.
Tahir one of the victim,  is MA, BEd and Nadeem is 12th class student, Gulzar in 35 years all hail from Kulgam , Kashmir. Every year they come to Delhi in the winter months to sell shawls and other woollen clothes. On February 19, at Sarai Rohilla, Delhi some of the miscreants stared at them and abused them. Then around 15to 20 men from the adjacent compartment came and started beating them. Nadeem and Tahir were pushed out of the train and despite making phone calls to the police they did not respond. Then they contacted Mohd Yusuf Tarigami, CPI(M) leader and MLA from Kulgam. He responded and said that the party will come to help them out. Brinda and others rushed to the hospital to ensure that they are safe. Later the FIR was also registered. 
 Rajinder Singh Negi the state secretary of CPI(M) Uttarakhand along with a team of activists of youth and women fronts intervened and met the terrified Kashmiri students. After meeting the state administration in Dehradun, they ensured that taxis are provided to those students who wanted to go back to Kashmir in the environment of fear and threat. A large number of students are still staying in Dehradun who have been provided with security arrangements, Rajinder Negi said.
Massive support was lent by the Sikh groups in Punjab who ensured safe passage, food and lodging to over 300 Kashmiri students after the Pulwama attack. According to reports published in many newspapers, the students were helped by local Sikh organisations and gurudwara committees. “Local gurudwaras were thrown open for Kashmiri students and we were able to give them shelter and food,” said Singh, who led a group 30 volunteers for the task.
Likewise, SFI Punjab university unit Chandigarh shared their phone number on the social media for rendering unflinching help for the distressed Kashmiri students. 
A report in freepresskashmir.com stated, “Living by the concept of ‘humanity is above all religions’, Sikhs lately responded to the ‘unnatural route’ induced crisis at Jammu where some stranded Kashmiri passengers came under attack. Their community services at the distressed hour won hearts and reaffirmed faith in JK’s age old spirit of communal harmony.”
Where the government failed,the people and other groups succeeded in reaffirming their faith in the basic fundamentals of our polity which is brotherhood.