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Attack on Kashmiri businessmen:Send team to Shimla to assess losses, Chamber urges Guv

Srinagar, Jan 1: Condemning the recent attacks on Kashmiri businessmen in Shimla, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Tuesday, said that insecurity among traders and students from Kashmir, who work and study outside the state, has reached an all-time high.

President KCCI, Sheikh Ashiq, during a presser here, said the growing insecurity and selective targeting of Kashmiri businessmen, especially handicraft dealers and door-to-door sellers, is a matter of concern.

Last week, on December 27, a mob in Rohru Tehsil in Shimla district, ransacked and smashed shops run by Kashmiris after a severed head of calf was allegedly found in the market.

In a video that went viral on social media, mobsters could be seen attacking the shopkeepers with hammers, sticks and iron rods.

The video shows them breaking the shutters of the shops, and looting and ransacking the goods.

“We find it strange that despite videos of the vandalism readily available on the social media, the Himachal Pradesh Police has failed to make any arrests so far. This clearly points to goons being patronised by the State. It is deplorable,” Ashiq said.

He said other videos of physical violence, hate speeches asking people not to buy Kashmiri goods are making rounds on social media.

The KCCI president demanded that the Governor’s administration should depute a high-level special team to Shimla, including representatives from the Chamber for assessing the losses and to ensure that the lives and property of Kashmiri traders are safe and secure and that guilty are punished under criminal law.

He also appealed Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure safety and protection of businessmen and students from Jammu and Kashmir outside the State.

 “We also humbly appeal to the saner elements of the society, including members of the business community, intellectuals, intelligentsia, civil society and others not to remain silent on it,” Ashiq added.

He added that such incidents cannot be allowed to become business-as-usual and remedial steps need to be taken for avoiding them in future.

The KCCI president said that he spoke to one of the victims in Shimla.

“Ghulam Muhammad, a resident of Anantnag, told me that out of the six shops, three were looted and everything inside the shop was thrown out,” Ashiq said.

“He (Ghulam Mohammad) said that fortunately the owners of the shops were not around when the incident happened, otherwise, they too would have been thrashed ruthlessly.”