Lucknow: The two Kashmiri dry fruit sellers who were thrashed by a group of saffron-clad men in broad daylight in Lucknow on Wednesday, have returned to the streets to continue selling their wares. Both the men- Abdul Salaam and Mushtaq – were seen selling their stuff at a makeshift market set up by the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA). As per reports, they will be back to their regular spot in Daliganj area on Saturday.
While speaking to a leading news channel, one of the two dry fruit sellers said how the city has always welcomed them and how they felt safer in Lucknow rather than in their hometown Kashmir. Another Kashmiri who is also a regular seller in Lucknow, however, admitted that the incident took place in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack. He added, “One person dirties the entire pond,” referring to the attack, that left 40 troopers of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) last month in J&K’s Pulwama and was claimed by a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist who was a local resident.
On Wednesday, a video went viral on social media which showed some saffron ‘activists’ with sticks in hand, hitting the two men and hurling abuses at them alongside a busy traffic road. While one of them escaped after getting a beating, the other was cornered and berated for being a Kashmiri.
“Why are you hitting him?”, asks a passerby in the video, to which one of the attackers responds with, “He’s a Kashmiri.” A little while later passersby intervened and questioned the attackers to which one assailant said they were inquiring about the dry fruit seller’s ID (identity card). The Kashmiri man was seen assuring the passersby as well as the attackers that he had a valid permit for his roadside stall.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was addressing a rally in UP’s Kanpur, condemned the attack which took place in Lucknow and praised the state government for the swift action taken against the attackers. He made it clear that such attacks won’t be tolerated against the Kashmiri community. Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Beawar too spoke about the rise in attacks against the Kashmiris and said, “Want to convey a message to the entire country, heard of a few incidents against Kashmiri children. Kashmiris are, were and will remain our people. Have requested Chief Ministers of all states that Kashmiri students must be protected and loved.”
Since the Pulwama terror attack, there have been incidents of hate crimes against Kashmiris who have been assaulted, abused and social boycotts have been led by them. The Supreme Court had on earlier occasion asked the centre and state governments to ensure Kashmiris were not persecuted.