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Concern in Valley over ''threats'' to Kashmiri students, traders outside State

Army soldiers patrol during a curfew in Jammu on February 16, 2019.

Army soldiers patrol during a curfew in Jammu on February 16, 2019.   | Photo Credit: AFP

Police have set up helplines in most districts of the Kashmir Valley for students and traders in case of any exigency outside the State.

Concern prevailed on Saturday among the parents and relatives in Kashmir of the Kashmiri students and traders living in Dehradun and Haryana following alleged threats to them by mobs in the wake of the killing of 40 CRPF jawans in a terror attack on a convoy in Pulwama on Thursday.

A Kashmiri student studying in Dehradun reportedly told his relatives in Bandipora that landlords were asking them (Kashmiri students) to vacate. Some Kashmiri students and traders in Haryana reportedly called up their parents and relatives in Shopian and Kupwara, saying they were harassed. 

A police spokesman in Srinagar said they had spoken to the Dehradun police. “The Dehradun police are in touch with the representative of Kashmir-based boys and all necessary arrangements for the safety and security of the students in Dehradun have been put in place,” he said.

 

Police have set up helplines in most districts of the Kashmir Valley for students and traders in case of any exigency outside the State.

Curfew in Jammu

In Jammu, curfew continued for the second day on Saturday, with reports of attacks in residential areas housing Kashmiri-speaking people.

There was tension on Friday despite the Jammu Chamber of Commerce's call to maintain calm.

“There has been constant attempt to stone our quarters since the morning. Curfew has failed to deter mobsters from hurling stones at Kashmiris' residential quarters. It smacks of leniency shown by the police towards mobsters,” alleged a Kashmiri, who reportedly lives in a government residential quarters in Janipur area. 

President of the Secretariat Employees Union Ghulam Rasool Mir alleged that police remained silent spectators when mobs entered the quarters. “There are brazen attempts to damage the communal harmony and brotherhood,” he said.

On Friday, over 50 vehicles of a particular community were either set on fire or smashed by mobs protesting against the Pulwama killing of CRPF jawans

An Army spokesman said Army personnel were helping the civil authorities in maintaining law and order in Jammu. “Eighteen columns have been deployed in Gujjar Nagar, Janipur, Shahidi Chowk, Talab Khatika, Sidhra and other sensitive areas. Flag marches were also conducted,” said the spokesman. The Army was using helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles “to monitor the situation”, he added.  

Separatists, regional parties express distress

Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said he was deeply distressed by reports of alleged attacks on Kashmiris in Jammu and other places. “Those in charge are obliged to ensure that the safety and security of Kashmiris is not compromised with at a time when anti-Kashmir rhetoric has been ratcheted up,” he said.

All factions of separatist amalgam Joint Resistance Leadership also condemned the alleged attacks on students and traders.

National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti and the CPI(M) have called for “calm”.

“I am disappointed at the resolution (passed after the all-party meet in Delhi) as it did not include a call for calm. There are reports of violence in Jammu and tension in the university and on college campuses in some States. I would have expected an appeal for calm along with condemnation and condolences,” said Mr. Abdullah.

Ms Mufti said, “In this time of grief and outrage, attempts will be made to divide us. Our pain must not fuel such diabolical plans. Because eventually, the axe forgets but the tree remembers.”

Several traders' bodies in the Kashmir Valley, including the Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Forum and Kashmir Economic Alliance, have called for a shutdown on Sunday for the alleged attacks on Kashmiris.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 2:43:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/panic-grips-kashmir-after-distress-call-from-students-traders-living-outside/article26291021.ece

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