Pulwama Attack: Calls For Safety Of Kashmiris After Jammu Violence

SRINAGAR — Various leaders from mainstream and separatist camps Friday expressed concern over safety of Kashmiris living in Jammu and outside in wake of what seemed to be concerted violence in the winter capital city over Thursday’s attack on CRPF in Pulwama .

According to reports, mobs defied curfew and went on rampage in several areas of Jammu, destroying property and setting vehicles ablaze. 
The mobs burnt tyres and placed barricades on several roads. Reports said a number of vehicles from a particular community were damaged and attempts made to set on fire their dwellings by the rampaging crowds.  

Secretariat Employees Union Ghulam Rasool Mir told local news agency GNS that attempts were made to set ablaze the several residential quarters of employees while stones were thrown at most them. “Our vehicles have been damaged and attempts have been made to torch our houses,” Mir said.  

Army conducted flag marches in sensitive areas.

The Joint Resistance Leadership comprising Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Syed Ali Geelani and Yasin Malik “strongly condemned the incidents of arson in Jammu in Gujjar Nagar and elsewhere incident where some communal elements freely torched the vehicles of Kashmiri Muslims and injured many others,” according to a statement.  

The JRL said “right from 1947 communal forces active in Jammu who leave no stone unturned to attack and intimidate Muslims and Kashmiri people, adding, that it is responsibility of the government administration to ensure the safety and security of Muslims and Kashmiris and living there.”

Former chief minister and National Conference chief Omar Abdullah said the reports of violence and arson in Jammu were deeply worrying. 

Taking to Twitter, Omar said neither Kashmiris nor Muslims had carried out the attack which killed 49 CRPF personnel.

“Giving vent to anger by attacking innocent people because of their ethnicity or religion is no way to honour the sacrifices yesterday. Reports of violence & arson in #Jammu are deeply worrying. I hope political leaders & civil society are able to ensure cooler heads prevail,” Omar tweeted. 

“Kashmiris/Muslims in Jammu didn’t attack our CRPF jawans yesterday, terrorists did. This violence is a convenient tool by some to shift the blame. Let’s unite against terror let’s not allow terror to divide us,” he wrote. 

While appealing to the home minister Rajnath Singh, who arrived in Srinagar to take stock of the situation in the aftermath of Pulwama attack, to issue directions to all state governments to take special care in areas, colleges and institutions where Kashmiris are residing or studying. 

“They are soft targets in a surcharged atmosphere,” he said. 

“If the security forces & the administration’s attention is shifted to dealing with communal violence in #Jammu instead of investigating yesterday’s attack & preventing further attacks who are we helping with the arson & violence?” he said. 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti said she spoke to Jammu police chief to deploy additional forces in the communal sensitive areas.

“Distressed to hear about miscreants in Jammu trying to take advantage of the situation by inciting tension. Guv admin should have preempted this by securing minority dominated areas. Have spoken to IG Jammu to deploy additional security,” she tweeted. 

She said she had also sought the intervention of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in the matter.

People’s Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone said that “act of bravery in the aftermath of the savage attack on CRPF personnel would be to give a united response as opposed to falling into the trap of the perpetrators of this attack of incitement against people of a particular province.”
He “made a passionate appeal to the people and civil society of Jammu for upholding the tenets of tolerance and brotherhood in the wake of dastardly attack on CRPF convoy in Pulwama yesterday,”  according to a statement.

Expressing anger and anguish over “hooliganism by miscreants of various right wing organizations” at various places in Jammu city, AIP President Er. Rasheed urged law enforcing agencies and civil administration to ensure protection to all sections of people without being biased.

 Business body rings up counterparts for ‘brotherhood’

 The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Friday asked people of the state to maintain communal harmony and not allow vested interests to divide the state on regional lines.

The KCCI was reacting to the violent protests in Jammu, a day after over 40 CRPF personnel died in a suicide attack carried out by Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).

"Everyone has condemned yesterday's killing (of CRPF personnel). We condemn any sort of killing and we condemn this (protests) also as we are losing human lives," KCCI president Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad told reporters here.

"... Unfortunately in Jammu, some elements are trying to create a regional divide. They are politicising the issue ahead of the elections. A common man has no role in all this," he added. 

Ahmad said the regional brotherhood in Jammu and Kashmir (J-K) should be maintained at all costs.

"We spoke to our counterparts in Jammu and told them that our regional brotherhood should be maintained at all cost. We are also talking to the administration to ensure that no attempt is made to give it a communal colour," he said.

The KCCI president said the government should address the Kashmir issue so that loss of lives in violence is stopped. 

"There should be talks on Kashmir issue... We do not want to lose more lives. We have to take steps that send a message of brotherhood," he said.

"We are also in touch with Jammu Chamber and if need arises, we will send our team to Jammu. We have to live together," he added.

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