Kashmiri porters in Shimla fear for lives, leave for their native places after Pulwama attack

Popularly known as the Kashmiri Khans, these porters form a crucial part of Himachal’s economy but are now living in fear. With reports that a Kashmiri shawl vendor in Baijnath was thrashed a day after the Pulwama attack, many have started packing their bags.
Kashmiri labourers carrying luggage on the Ridge, Shimla.(HT Photo)
Kashmiri labourers carrying luggage on the Ridge, Shimla.(HT Photo)
Updated on Feb 18, 2019 11:21 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Shimla | By, Shimla

Worried for their safety amid the brewing tension following the Pulwama terror attack, Kashmiri porters in Shimla are leaving for their native places.

Popularly known as the Kashmiri Khans, these porters form a crucial part of Himachal’s economy but are now living in fear. With reports that a Kashmiri shawl vendor in Baijnath was thrashed a day after the Pulwama attack, many have started packing their bags.

“Kashmiris not just in Shimla, but in other parts of the state are anxious. I have seen many social media posts targeting our community. It is unfortunate that we are being targeted,” said Bilal Ahmed Shah, district president of the Rashtriya Muslim Sangh.

Read | Shutdown in Valley after Kashmiris harassed over Pulwama attack

The community has over 8,000 people scattered in different parts of the state, including Shimla, Kullu, Kangra, Solan and Chamba districts. Police have issued an advisory to all police stations, directing them to adopt measures to avoid any untoward incident. The intelligence agencies too have expressed their apprehensions about the community’s safety. The local police has deputed men in civil dress to keep vigil in localities inhabited by the Kashmiri population. “We have put in place precautionary measures to protect the Kashmiri population and are keeping a close eye on their localities,” said SP Omapati Jamwal.

The Himachal Road Transport Corporation has suspended all its bus services to J&K, after a high alert was issued following the attack.

Read | ‘Madadgaar’ to any Kashmiri in distress in aftermath of Pulwama attack, tweets CRPF helpline

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Gaurav Bisht heads Hindustan Times’ Himachal bureau. He covers politics in the hill state and other issues concerning the masses.

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