Patna: Taking swift action in the case of Kashmiri traders being attacked in Patna after the Pulwama terror attack, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has ordered an investigation into the case.
In the aftermath of the terrorists attack on a CRPF convoy at Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir, which left at least 42 personnel dead and many others injured, over 30 people, carrying lathis and national flags, attacked shops belonging to Kashmiri traders in Patna’s Lhasa market and also assaulted the people present at the market on Friday.
Nitish has directed the state police chief Gupteshwar Pandey to conduct a detailed investigation into the incident and submit a report at the earliest.
Though DGP Pandey was not available for his comments, a senior ADGP rank officer said on Monday that the Patna senior superintendent of police (SSP) Garima Malik has already been directed to ascertain the identity of the attackers and take action against them.
On being contacted, the SSP said, “The investigation into Friday's incident is underway. An FIR was lodged on the statement of one of the victims. Additional armed forces have been deployed to instil a sense of security among the Kashmiri traders.”
On Friday night, several Kashmiri shopkeepers working in the eastern state since decades faced the ire of a mob, which attacked them and damaged their shops at Lhasa market on Budh Marg in Patna.
Basheer Ahmad, 55, who sells winter clothes, said he has never witnessed such an ugly scene before. “I am more a Bihari than a Kashmiri. I was born in Srinagar but have spent most of my life here,” he said.
Basheer was the first to lodge a complaint at Kotwali police station. Not only was his and others’ shops destroyed, but the shopkeepers were also thrashed in public by the same men. Even women and girls were not spared, he rued.
Majeed Ahmad, Raes and Abdul Bari were among the critically injured and have been admitted to the Gardiner Road hospital in Patna for treatment.
The 30-odd attackers have warned the shopkeepers to leave Patna in 10 days. A visibly terrorised Majeed, who has been doing business there for 35 years, said, “Not only did they ransack our shops, but they also stole cash and other valuables. The vandals were so agitated they even assaulted the customers, who were locals.”
The attackers, however, fled before the police arrived. Ram Shankar Singh, the station house officer at Kotwali police station, said armed forces have been deployed in the market as a precautionary measure.
He confirmed that an FIR had been lodged against unidentified people based on Basheer’s complaint. “Further investigations are underway,” he said, adding that action would be initiated against the vandals with the help of footage from CCTV cameras in the market.
Patna Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Garima Malik said, “We are alert and taking all precautions to provide security to the Kashmiri shopkeepers.”
A contingent of the Rapid Action Force, too, has been deployed outside the market to keep vigil.
The author is a Patna - based freelance writer and a member of 101Reporters.com.
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Updated Date: Feb 19, 2019 12:38:13 IST