Kashmiri shawl vendor thrashed in Bengal, viral video creates panic in Valley
In a similar incident, two shawl vendors from Jammu and Kashmir were allegedly thrashed on a train in Delhi by two unidentified men while travelling to Sampla in Haryana for business on Tuesday.Updated: Feb 21, 2019, 11:38 IST
A Kashmiri shawl vendor’s traumatised and bloodied face has created a panic in the Valley after a video of the attack on him on Tuesday in West Bengal’s Nadia district went viral on social media.
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah has raised the issue with chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who he says has assured of action against those who beat up Javid Amad Khan.
Incidents of assaults and harassment of Kashmiris have been reported from various parts of the country after a 22-year-old Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist rammed his car with explosives into A CRPF convoy killing 40 CRPF personnel on February 14.
Several Kashmiri students have been arrested and suspended from their colleges for alleged “anti-national” activities across India. Some have even alleged they were harassed and asked by their landlords to vacate accommodations, fearing attacks on their properties after the strike in Pulwama.
The video of Khan, in which he is seen being forced by a mob to raise anti-Pakistan slogans in Taherpur and asked to leave West Bengal along with other Kashmiris working in the state, has angered people in Kashmir and his family members, who are demanding action against the culprits.
Khan’s family, who live in Budgam district’s Soibough village, also came to know about the incident through social media and has requested the government to provide him safe passage from the town, where he has been living for the past four months. Khan belongs to a family of shawl weavers.
“Soon after we saw the video we called him. Currently, he is staying at a place along with other Kashmiri businessmen who are all scared after the attack. They all have been threatened to leave Bengal,’’ said his uncle Rashid Khan.
Rashid Khan said his nephew goes to Kolkata every autumn and works for a Kashmiri trader who is settled in the West Bengal capital for the last four decades.
“He (Khan) has been working in Bengal since the past nine years and this has happened for the first time when he was beaten and also threatened to leave the state,” Rashid Khan said.
“He left his native place to earn a livelihood for his family. After seeing his video with blood oozing out from his face and nose it’s a miracle that he is alive. The mob otherwise had left no stone unturned to get him killed,” he said.
Saleem Ahmad, another shawl vendor who is in Kolkata, said after the attack on Khan most of the people in the city are scared.
“We are very scared here, despite the fact that we have nothing to do with Pulwama. The people who come to earn their livelihood here are peace loving people and stay here for six to seven months,’’ Ahmad said.
He said hundreds of Kashmiris live in Bengal and earn their livelihood in the eastern state. “We come to this place every autumn and leave in summers,” he said.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said he contacted Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee after he saw the video of the attack on Khan.
“Having seen the video doing the rounds on social media of a young Kashmiri man being beaten up in Kolkata I’ve been in touch with @derekobrienmp and @MamataOfficial regarding the matter. The culprits have been identified & strongest possible action has been assured,’’ tweeted Omar Abdullah.
He said he has been contacted by the administration and the issue is being looked after.
In a similar incident, two shawl vendors from Jammu and Kashmir were allegedly thrashed on a train in Delhi by two unidentified men while travelling to Sampla in Haryana for business on Tuesday.
Following the assault, they got off the train at Nangloi railway station, leaving their three bags of Kashmiri shawls and suits behind. Railway police in Delhi said they have registered a case and are trying to identify and nab the attackers.