The killing of at least 40 CRPF personnel in Thursday’s militant attack in Pulwama has triggered violence in the Jammu region, with mobs torching vehicles and attacking Kashmiri Muslims staying there.
Despite the curfew, a mob attacked Kashmiris staying in the Janipur area of Jammu. Local residents also said that there were clashes between Hindu and Muslims groups in Khatika Talab and Gujjar Nagar areas of the city. Several vehicles were torched in Gujjar Nagar in the past two days, while vehicles were also damaged in Janipur.
On Friday and Saturday, a mob pelted stones on quarters where Kashmiri employees live in Janipur. Ghulam Rasool Mir, president of Civil Secretariat Employees Union, said that the employees’ quarters were attacked by a large stone-pelting mob. He said, “At least five vehicles of the employees were also damaged. Vehicles of some of our employees were also burnt in Gujjar Nagar." Mir also claimed that the violence took place despite the presence of police personnel.
He further said, “We will try to move back to Kashmir as soon as possible. The employees who are putting up at hotels are feeling threatened. There are also employees who are putting up in quarters at over ten places in Jammu, including Muthi and Panjtirthi. They, too, are afraid."
Vivek Gupta, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Jammu, however, said that the situation is normal in Jammu. He said, “We have deployed the army and police at different places and curfew has been imposed to avoid any untoward incident. Police presence has been increased in Janipur.”
A Kashmiri who lives in a rented house in Janipur said, "Our family was deeply disturbed after the violence. I live in Jammu, and my parents are deeply worried. They want me to come back to Kashmir. But we are unable to do so as the Jammu-Srinagar highway remains blocked."
Besides government employees, a large number of other Kashmiri Muslims are staying at different places in Jammu, having moved to the region during the winter to escape the cold wave conditions in Kashmir.
In a development that could increase problems for Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik's administration, several government employees have threatened to go on strike and move back to Kashmir.
Both mainstream and separatists politicians in the state have raised the issue of protection for Kashmiri Muslims in the Jammu region, as also other states. Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Saturday tweeted, "“Deeply distressed by reports of attacks on Kashmiris in Jammu and other places by communal goons. Those in charge are obliged to ensure the safety and security of Kashmiris is not compromised at a time when anti-Kashmir rhetoric has been ratcheted up.”
Omar Abdullah also tweeted:
My earnest appeal to @rajnathsingh ji to please issue directions to all state governments to take special care in areas/colleges/institutions where Kashmiris are residing/studying. They are soft targets in a surcharged atmosphere.
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) February 15, 2019
After the Pulwama attack, people protested in Srinagar's business hub of Lal Chowk and traders' bodies called for a Kashmir bandh on Sunday. The strike call was given by Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Forum (KTMF) and Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA).
While shopkeepers in Lal Chowk took out a protest march, demonstrations were also held in Anantnag in south Kashmir.
Ashiq Hussain, president of Shia Federation Jammu, said that on Friday, clashes were witnessed between groups of Hindu and Muslim youth in the Khatika Talab area of the city. He appealed for the “restoration of peace in the region" and stressed on the need for maintaining communal harmony.
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Updated Date: Feb 16, 2019 18:43:32 IST