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Why didn’t PM Modi’s speech help, asks Omar Abdullah after 2 Kashmiris beaten in Lucknow

Omar Abdullah sought to know as to why PM Narendra Modi’s remark that “our fight is for Kashmir, not against Kashmiris” — made after reported harassment of Kashmiris following the Pulwama attack — was not having any impact on the ground.

india Updated: Mar 07, 2019 22:05 IST
Ashiq Hussain
Ashiq Hussain
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah delivers speech during function in Srinagar on Thursday. (ANI)

The assault on two Kashmiri dry-fruit vendors in Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow triggered outrage in the valley, with former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti and trade bodies slamming right wing groups.

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah asked why Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assertion that “our fight is for Kashmir, not against Kashmiris” — made after reported harassment of Kashmiris following the Pulwama attack — was not having any impact on the ground.

“Today, either the statement is not being followed or it was just a jumla,” Omar said at a function at his party headquarters.

Also Read: Our fight is for Kashmir not against Kashmir, says PM Modi

“Our people are being targeted, harassed and threatened without any reason. PM sahib you will have to prove whether your speeches have efficacy or not. You have to prove that when you talk as the PM of this country, your words are implemented,” he said.

He pointed out that the two dry fruit sellers, Abdul Salam and Afzal, from Kashmir’s Kulgam, who were beaten up by locals in Lucknow, had nothing to do with politics. “They were out to earn their livelihood. They had done no wrong, they had not posted any message on Facebook or Whatsapp, they were just on the road.”

He asked how Kashmiri people would be “atoot ang” (integral part) of the country if they are not accepted.

UP Police have arrested the attackers after a video of it was shared widely on social media.

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said the culprits, clad in saffron kurtas, “have no fear”, and were being encouraged to communalise the atmosphere until the Lok Sabha polls.

“You humiliate & assault Kashmiris. Make them feel like criminals & that they don’t belong to this country. Why are you surprised then when young pliable men are taken under the wings of terror groups & indoctrinated?” she wondered.

Mufti however praised the locals who intervened and rescued the Kashmiri vendors.

“Of course, there are people who have opened their hearts and homes to Kashmiris. I salute them & their resolve to not let prejudice condition their behaviour. that is the spirit of my country. Not some warped sense of patriotism that wants to establish Hindutva with an iron hand,” she said.

The attack was also condemned by the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

In a joint press statement, they said, “We urge Governor Satya Pal Malik to use his good offices for ensuring that cases are registered for attempt to murder and other stringent provisions of criminal law against the goons and the organisations they belong to.”

First Published: Mar 07, 2019 20:35 IST