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Kashmiri Muslims under attack as violence grips India


News Desk |

On 17th February, separatist Kashmiri leaders and trade bodies called for a complete shutdown, which was observed throughout Kashmir in protest to the property evictions, suspensions, arrests and brutality that Kashmiris all over India are suffering in the aftermath of the Pulwama suicide bombing.

Kashmiris have come under attack as India is gripped with a wave of communal violence, and mobs demanding revenge are attacking Kashmiri students and staging forceful evictions, particularly in the states of Uttarakhand, Haryana, Bihar, and Maharashtra amongst other Indian states.

Mirwaiz stressed that the decision to withdraw security does not “affect us” and our stance to seek self-determination for Kashmir will remain unchanged.

Social media is abuzz with a series of extremely disturbing videos that show innocent Kashmiri students and businessmen being rounded up and beaten up by extremist goons across various states of India. Mob attacks have also been observed against Kashmiris throughout the valley, particularly in Jammu, and Kashmiri media reports that properties worth lakhs have been dismantled.

Media reports reveal that the members of extremist Hindu groups, including Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad, have been actively targeting Kashmiri students and businessmen in Dehradun, Bihar and other Indian states. Kashmiri students and families are extremely fearful of their safety, and students have reportedly locked themselves inside their rentals and hostel rooms out of fear.

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On Sunday, a horrifying video emerged of an innocent Kashmiri being incessantly beaten in Jantar Mantar, and the mob can be heard chanting slogans of “kill him”, while the police present on the scene provided him security with great difficulty.

The Kashmir Monitor reported that four paramedical students, including Talveen Manzoor, Uzma Nazir, and Iqra Zohra Nazir studying at the National Institute of Medical Science, were suspended from their institution and later booked under sedition charges for allegedly sharing “anti-national” messages via WhatsApp. The girls have been accused of posting a picture that is allegedly “celebrating the Pulwama attack”.

Kashmiri students and families are extremely fearful of their safety, and students have reportedly locked themselves inside their rentals and hostel rooms out of fear.

The Indian forces have also been accused of conducting “nocturnal raids” in the valley and arresting innocent Kashmiris. In the Shopian district of South Kashmir, three innocent persons were arrested yesterday, including Rafiq Ahmed, a public school teacher, Fayaz Ahmed Malik, and Umar Nagari, a student. While speaking to the Kashmir Monitor, the locals revealed that the Indian forces raided three houses, and they condemned these arrests, saying that the arrested persons are “innocent and should be released immediately”.

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Kashmiri Leaders Condemn Violence

In a series of tweets, Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has condemned the violence against Kashmiris with strongly worded comments. He tweeted, “Deeply distressed by reports of continued attacks on Kashmiri’s in Jammu and other places by communal goons let loose. Those in charge are obliged to ensure the safety and security of Kashmiri’s is not compromised with at a time when anti-Kashmir rhetoric has been ratcheted up.”

Earlier today, Asaduddin Owaisi, President of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) also tweeted against the anti-Kashmiri violence and emphasized that Kashmiri citizens have a right to “live free from fear” in any part of India. Owaisi also stressed that such “xenophobic attacks” must be condemned and it is important to prevent the “rule of law be replaced by a rule of mobs”.

The Majlis Ittehad-e-Millat Jammu and Kashmir, which consists of key religious parties within J&K, also condemned the acts of violence staged against Kashmiris across India and in Jammu city. As per the report presented by KL News Network, a spokesperson for the organization has condemned the attacks, and stated that these terrorizing scenes of violence and property damage are reminiscent of the horrifying “massacre of thousands of innocent Muslims back in 1947”.

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The spokesperson for Majlis Ittehad-e-Millat J&K also revealed that the local administration and police were “supporting the mobs that were assaulting Kashmiri Muslims”. He went on to say, “The authorities were providing shelter to the stone pelters who were destructing the properties of Kashmiri Muslims and even mosques across various regions of Jammu”.

The Indian forces have also been accused of conducting “nocturnal raids” in the valley and arresting innocent Kashmiris.

Omar Abdullah, former Chief Minister, and Vice President National Conference, also condemned the attacks on Kashmiri students and asserted that these attacks convey that Kashmiris have “no future in the mainland.

Abdullah tweeted, “Young Kashmiri students studying outside J&K should have been feted as examples of people who have stayed away from the politics & conflict in Kashmir, choosing instead to make a future for themselves. By attacking them, terrorizing them & forcing them to find the shelter they are being told there is no place for them outside the valley & no future in the mainland.”

He further added, “Those hotheads that make up the mobs doing this damage need to ask themselves (if they have the mental bandwidth) whose purpose is served by ostracizing Kashmiris.”

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New Delhi withdraws Security Assigned to Separatist Leaders

On Sunday, the J&K police authorities issued a handout that called for the withdrawal of all security personnel and vehicles amongst other facilities that were provided to the Separatist leaders, including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Abdul Ghani Bhat, Hashim Qureshi, Bilal Lone, and Shabir Shah.

As shared by the Kashmir Monitor, the handout states, “No security forces or cover should be provided, under any pretext, to them or any other separatists. If they have any other facilities provided by the Government, they are to be withdrawn forthwith.”

The authorities were providing shelter to the stone pelters who were destructing the properties of Kashmiri Muslims and even mosques across various regions of Jammu.

The decision to withdraw security facilities from separatist leaders have emerged following the visit of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who had reportedly stated that the authorities are reviewing the status of security provisions to those who “obtain monetary support from Pakistan”.

While speaking to Rising Kashmir, a Hurriyat spokesperson had condemned the propagandist tactics of New Delhi and Indian media in “racking up the issue” of security facilities provided to the resistance leaders, despite fully understanding that “it has no bearing nor can it alter the reality of the long withstanding conflict of Kashmir”.

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The spokesperson stresses that such tactics cannot change our principled stand and outlook” regarding the resolution of the Kashmir dispute. In a statement given to Al-Jazeera, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, senior resistance leader, labeled these developments as tactics of “diverting the attention from the Kashmir dispute”. Mirwaiz commented, “The government decided to provide me with security, I did not ask for it. Now that they are withdrawing it, let them.

They simply want to divert attention from the Kashmiri struggle towards its right to self-determination”. Mirwaiz stressed that the decision to withdraw security does not “affect us” and our stance to seek self-determination for Kashmir will remain unchanged.

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