LUCKNOW A group of men assaulted two Kashmiri traders in Daliganj locality in Uttar Pradesh’s capital city. They filmed it also and circulated it on the social media, despites directions by the Supreme Court and urge by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi no to attack any Kashmiri.
The incident took place on Wednesday evening when the Kashmiri were selling dry fruits on Daliganj bridge. They were attacked with sticks by saffron-clad men, the video of which has gone viral.
In one video, the vendors, sitting on the roadside with their wares spread out, were seen being beaten up by men dressed in saffron. The Kashmiris are seen trying to shield their heads and pleading the attackers to stop. Another video shows the attackers asking the second vendor for his identify card as he tried to pack up and leave. One of them is even heard saying the men were being beaten up as they were Kashmiris.
The victims, Mohammad Afzal Naik and Abdul Salaam, however, were rescued by some of the locals, who advised the attackers not to “take law into your own hands” and to call in the police.
“These men just descended on us. They started beating us and calling us terrorists. We have been coming for 20 years. Something like this has never happened with us before,” one of the dry fruit sellers said while describing the traumatic moments to reporters.
“They said we are terrorists. We were told that we sell items here and throw stones there. They started thrashing us. They asked for our Aadhaar cards,” Mohammad Afzal Naik said.
Calling it an “unfortunate” and “one-off incident”, senior police officer Anand Kumar said, “We will crack down on such incidents with the entire force of the law. Nobody is above the law and nobody can target innocent citizens like this.”
“The Kashmiri youths were selling dry fruits on Daliganj bridge and a group of men beat them up, terming them as stone pelters,” Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Kalanidhi Naithani told reporters here Thursday.
He said after an “alert citizen” made the video, the matter came to light after which police teams swung into action and arrested the main accused, Bajrang Sonkar, who has more than a dozen criminal cases including that of murder, loot, theft and arms act pending against him.
On his tip off, three others — Himanshu Garg, Aniruddh and Amar Kumar — were also arrested on Thursday, the SSP said.
About the victims, he said they come here during winters to sell dry fruits.
Naithani said police wanted to give a stern message that such acts would not be tolerated and those involved will be brought to book.
An FIR was lodged in this connection at Hasangaj police station under various sections of the IPC, including 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 307 (attempt to murder), and Criminal Law Amendment Act. Sonkar claims to be the president of the Vishwa Hindu Dal.
Incidents of harassment of Kashmiris, especially students and traders, have been reported from various parts of the India after the Pulwama attack on February 14.
The two Kashmiris, who were beaten up, later told mediapersons that they were satisfied with the police action, which they termed as prompt.
PMs Urge Goes Unheard
On February 23, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke out against the attacks on Kashmiris, saying our fight is for Kashmir, not against Kashmir or Kashmiris.
Referring to the incidents of violence and threat against Kashmiris, he said: Pichle dino, kahan kya hua, ghatna choti thi ki badi thi, Kashmiri bacchon ke saath Hindustan ke kisi kone mein, kya hua kya nahin hua, mudda yeh nahin hai. Is desh mein aisa hona nahin chahiye (The issue is not what happened where, whether it was a small or big incident, what happened or not with Kashmiri students in any corner of Hindustan. Such incidents shouldnt happen in this country), said Modi.
Attack In Violation Of SC Directions
On 22 February, the Supreme Court directed the chief secretaries and DGPs of all the states to take “prompt” action to prevent incidents of “threat, assault and social boycott” of Kashmiris. (With Agency Inputs )