Following the Pulwama terror attack in February, Kashmiris, across the nation, have been at the receiving end of ‘nationalists’ and ‘right-wing groups’. In the latest incident of hate crime against Kashmiri, two Kashmiri dry-fruit vendors, Mohammed Afzal Naik and Abdul Salaam were publicly beaten in Lucknow by the goons of right-wing group Vishwa Hindu Dal. They were armed with sticks and dressed in saffron. The video went viral and caught the attention of the public and politicians alike.
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Naik and Salaam said “these men just descended on us. They started beating us and calling us terrorists. We have been coming here 20 years. Something like this has never happened with us before.” Naik said that they were called ‘terrorists’. We were told that we sell items here and throw stones there. They started thrashing us. They asked for our Aadhaar cards. We showed it to them.”
The Kashmiri vendors said they are grateful to the locals who intervened and told the attackers ‘not to take law into your own hands’ and called the police.
Meanwhile, the police have identified the attackers. One of the attackers, Himanshu Awasthi, claims to be the president of the Vishwa Hindu Dal. He shared the video of the attack on Facebook and bragged about the incident.
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Anand Kumar, a senior police officer, said this was a one-off incident. Kumar said no one is above the law. “We will crack down on such incidents with the entire force of the law. Nobody can target innocent citizens like this.” Kumar said the strongest possible action will be taken.
Last month, the Supreme Court had asked the states to step up security of the Kashmiris and taken strict action against those responsible for the attacks on Kashmiris.