New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Central government and 11 states and sought their response on a plea seeking its intervention to prevent alleged attacks on Kashmiri students in the aftermath of the dastardly Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 CRPF jawans February 14.  A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked the police officers, who were earlier appointed as nodal officers to deal with cases of alleged assault on Kashmiris. Also Read - G7 Summit 2021: Leaders Pledge to Deliver on Vaccines, Climate; Call Out China on Right Abuses | 10 Points

The bench which also comprises Justice Sanjiv Khanna further asked the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to give wide publicity to nodal officers so that they can be approached by those facing such incidents.  “The chief secretaries, the DGPs and the Delhi Police Commissioner are directed to take prompt and necessary action to prevent incidents of threat, assault, social boycott etc. Against Kashmiris and other minorities,” the bench said. Also Read - Modi Cabinet Expansion Buzz: Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sushil Modi to Get Ministerial Berth in Next Reshuffle? Take a Look at Likely Contenders

Notably, the bench was hearing a petition filed by Tariq Adeeba and Olivia Bang. In their plea, they had alleged  that students from Kashmir Valley being attacked at different educational institutions across the country after the Pulwama terror attack and authorities concerned should be directed to take actions to stop such assaults. Also Read - ‘One Earth, One Health’: PM Modi Calls For Global Unity To Prevent Future Pandemics At G7 Summit

“Order directing the Centre to direct the heads of all institutions particularly, but not restricted to, educational institutions, to take immediate steps to protect the lives and dignities of minorities and Kashmiris facing discrimination and attacks,” the plea said.

The petition, filed through advocate Satya Mitra, sought direction to the Centre for taking steps to prevent “threats, assaults, violent attacks, social boycotts, ostracism, evictions and other coercive acts” committed by groups and mobs against “Kashmiris and other minorities”.

The plea sought a direction to the Centre and other authorities for prosecuting people engaging in hate speech and appointment of a nodal officer in every state and union territory, including politically-sensitive districts to prevent any acts of violence, discrimination and vigilantism.

It also sought direction to the Centre and other authorities to immediately set up a nationwide helpline number and to establish a web site containing the contact details of the nodal officers appointed in politically-sensitive districts who are responsible for maintaining law and order.

“There is a sudden rise in the incidents of crimes against Muslims and Kashmiris after the Pulwama terrorist attack on February 14 in which over 40 soldiers were killed… Immediately after the attack, mobs and vigilante groups engaged in vitriolic hate speech and began attacking, and threatening Muslims and Kashmiris throughout the country, said the petition.

On Thursday, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah had asked why Prime Minister Narendra Modi was silent on Kashmiri students being targeted in various parts of the country. Addressing the media, the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister also said talks with Pakistan cannot be held in the backdrop of attacks such as the one in Pulwama last week.

“Our PM has talked about a ‘muh tod jawab’ but such a reply is not possible in the current situation,” Abdullah said a week after 40 CRPF soldiers were martyred in Pulwama district. The Jaish-e-Mohammed ( Pakistan based terror group) has claimed responsibility for the attack.