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Lethpora bombing fallout: Kashmiris in Jammu, elsewhere face rage

Srinagar, Feb 16: Tensions continued to simmer in J&K after violence against Kashmiris was reported in Jammu and other states across India on Saturday as well.

The incidents are fallout of the Thursday’s bombing on the highway in Pulwama in which 49 CRPF troopers were killed after a local Jaish fidayeen rammed an explosive filled vehicle into the forces’ convoy.

 

Like Friday, Saturday too saw mobs attacking a number of quarters belonging to Kashmiris, especially ones at Janipur area, amid an officially declared curfew in the state’s winter capital.

A number of people called from Janipur and said they were attacked by the frenzied mobs despite the presence of police.

The mobs entered inside the premises and attacked quarters of Kashmiris while police, according to the callers, remained a mute spectator.

On Friday, there was widespread violence in which mobs torched 30 vehicles and damaged over 50 of them during a strike called by the Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industries and Bar Association against Thursday’s attack.

Not just in Jammu, Kashmiris, including students and businessmen, in others states were at the receiving end of right-wing violence.

Some of the Valleyites putting up in Bihar, Dehradun and Punjab were targeted by unruly mobs, who asked them to vacate their rented premises and leave the state.

Students being the soft target were beaten ruthlessly by the angered crowd in Dehradun. The 12 Kashmiri boys are students of Dev Bhoomi, BFIT, and Alpine college of Dehradun.

Others putting up in rented accommodations and hostels in Dehradun and Haryana were forced to vacate their lodgings by the landlords. The anger was predictably visible on social media with students receiving abusive texts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.“I was asked by landlord to vacate within 24 hours,” said Umar, who studies in a college in Dehradun.

“I can’t think of travelling by air since the fares are too high. To make the matters worse, the highway is closed and Jammu is under siege. In such a scenario, going by road is not an option,” he lamented.

Asked why he was asked to vacate, Umar said: “The goons threatened to vandalise the property of my landlord if I didn’t leave the building.”

Another student hailing from Kupwara who too studies in Dehradun, said, “Our hopes of studying here for quality education are dashed. We are vulnerable and have nowhere to go. The politicians will never give a thought about our well-being. Their concern is to gain votes.”

A student studying in Jammu wishing not to be named said, “I received threatening texts on FB and Twitter. The sender asked me that revenge will be taken, using many cuss words.”

Many videos surfaced on social media showing the escalating mob violence. In one of videos, the Kashmiri shopkeepers in Bihar are threatened by mob to close their shops in 24 hours and leave the state.

Jammu has remained on the edge since Friday as bricks were hurled towards the residential quarters of Durbar Move employees. A similar pattern was witnessed on Saturday in sensitive areas like Janipora and Rehari, Subhashnagar.
Secretariat Employees Union President Ghulam Rasool Mir condemned the attacks and urged the administration to ensure the safety of the people from Kashmir.

“The feeling of defenselessness in the face of mob violence cannot be described. Despite the assurances that the security cover will be provided, we know from bitter experience that the cops won’t act when mobs run amok,” he said.
Kashmiris out of the valley, meanwhile, continued to share on social media the dangers they faced.

Akash Hassan, a valley-based journalist posted on Facebook: “I am in Jammu from last two days and without a reliable internet connection. The situation is terrible here. Can someone help me get out from Raghunath Bazar to Chenni area? I am confined to my hotel room. There is strict curfew.

I don’t know how long hoteliers will allow Kashmiris to stay in their hotels. They are also running short of supplies.”
Azmat Arif, a resident of Awantipora had this to post: “I have my brother at Dehradun. He is studying there. They are 8 students, no one is giving them any shelter … if anyone can get some help from anywhere …that will be much appreciated… I have tried to contact police.. and they are not taking my calls…. they are hiding right now….please someone help (sic).”

The messages are being circulated on social media platforms asking Kashmiris living outside to exercise caution.

Fellow Kashmiris are being asked to avoid discussion on Kashmir, stay in groups and avoid going to markets alone.

Jammu and Kashmir Police on Saturday said they have spoken to their counterparts in Dehradun following reports of harassment of Kashmiri students there. Besides, they have issued helpline numbers to ensure the safety of Kashmiris’ outside the state.

Ensure Kashmiris are safe: Centre to states
Press Trust of India
New Delhi, Feb 16: The Centre Saturday asked all states to ensure safety and security of the students and people from Jammu and Kashmir living in their areas in the wake of threats to them in some parts of the country, officials said.
The advisory came hours after Home Minister Rajnath Singh assured an all-party meeting of doing the needful for the protection of the Kashmiri students and people who were allegedly threatened after the attack in Pulwama in which 49 CRPF personnel were killed.
A Home Ministry official said there have been some reports of students and other residents of Jammu and Kashmir experiencing threats and intimidation. “Therefore, the Home Ministry today issued an advisory to all states/UTs to take necessary measures to ensure their safety and security,” the official said.
Some Kashmiri youths studying in the Uttarakhand capital, Dehradun, have alleged that they were harassed and have been asked by their landlords to vacate accommodations fearing attacks on their properties in the aftermath of the attack.