Srinagar, Mar 7: Two dry fruit vendors from Kashmir were assaulted by a group of men belonging to a right-wing group in Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow on Wednesday.
The street vendors Mohammed Afzal Naik and Abdul Salaam were sitting on a busy road when they were attacked by the goons, who shared the video of the assault on social media.
The incident took place at around 5 pm on Wednesday in Daliganj in central Lucknow. The men who assaulted the traders can be heard in widely-circulated videos saying that are doing it because they are from Kashmir.
Two men in saffron kurtas can be seen thrashing the two who were sitting on the road with their dry fruits spread out on a sheet, the video footage showed.
One of the attackers beat the men with a wooden stick. In one of the videos, one of the Kashmiri men is seen covering his head and pleading the attackers to stop beating him.
Another video shows the saffron-clad men asking the second dry fruit seller for his identify card as he tried to pack up and leave the spot.
A local resident of Lucknow intervened and asked the men to stop further assault of the two vendors. “Don’t take law into your own hands. Call the police,” the local can be seen saying.
Later Afzal told police and media that two to four people came and started abusing and thrashing them. “They said us that we do business here and stone pelting in Kashmir and we are terrorists. After showing our Aadhar card to them they accused us of fake identity,” Afzal said.
However, Utter Pradesh police has registered a case and the accused are charged with sections 147,323,504,153A, and 7 CLAA of IPC.
“All the four accused have been arrested and are in police custody,” SSP Lucknow, Kalanidhi Naithani, told The Kashmir Monitor over the phone.
“We ensure safety of the Kashmiris here and initiate crackdown on such incidents with the entire force of the law to avoid such incidents in future. Nobody is above the law and nobody can target innocent citizens like this,” the officer said.
Social Media reacts: Meanwhile, the video evoked sharp reactions on social media. Many politicians, intellectuals, journalists, netizens were seen criticising the incident on Twitter.
Senior National conference leader, Omar Abdullah tweeted, “Dear PM @narendramodi Sahib, this is what you had spoken against & yet it continues unabated. This is the state governed by your handpicked Chief Minister. Can we expect action in this case or do we file your concern & assurances as a jumla, meant to placate but nothing more?”
In a series of tweets, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti, wrote, “You humiliate & assault Kashmiris. Make them feel like criminals & that they don’t belong to this country. Why are you surprised then when young pliable men are taken under the wings of terror groups & indoctrinated?”
“Kashmiris are being hounded & punished. The culprits here were clad in saffron kurtas & are from VHD. They have no fear & in fact uploaded the video on SM. GoIs conspicuous silence is actually a political tactic to encourage such elements & communalise the atmosphere until polls,” Mehbooba’s tweet read.
Senior journalist with CNN News 18, Mufti Islah also tweeted, “Lucknow, stand up to this goondaism. Your city is about Tahzeeb and Tamadun. Is this what you want to be remembered for. Isolate the goons. There is one place for them. Jail. Don’t let them loose. They are spoiling the name of your great city.”