Three Kashmiri shawl traders were assaulted and robbed while on a train to Haryana from Delhi today, the CPM said in a Facebook post. The attack, in which the men sustained serious injuries, adds to the growing instances of public anger Kashmiris are facing across the country following the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama, in which 40 CRPF men died.
The CPM reported that the shawl traders said this morning, on a train to Sampla -- barely 45 km from the national capital -- they were targeted by men, who claimed they were from the armed forces.
Initially, the two men in the compartment were "staring at us and talking among themselves". The Facebook post of the CPM read.
Then they "started abusing us, calling us dirty Kashmiris... I tried to explain. They claimed that they were in the armed forces and that we were killed. After we crossed Mangolpuri, they started beating us," the post read.
Soon after, around 15 to 20 men from the neighbouring compartment came and started beating the Kashmiris. "They beat us with belts. I cannot believe that I'm alive," the CPM quoted the men as saying.
When the assailants threw them out of the compartment, the Kashmiri men - one of whom suffered serious head injuries and another bruises on face -- went to a local hospital. They have been visited by Brinda Karat, Subhashini Ali, KM Tewari and other senior leaders of the party, the CPM said.
There have been other instances of Kashmiris, many of them students, being targeted.
Two days ago, a shawl trader was assaulted in Bengal's Nadia district, where he has been living for a decade. He and three other Kashmiris staying in the area have been asked by the local police to "stay away" till "things cool down".
Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy, who endorsed boycotting "everything Kashmiri", has tweeted:
The Pakistan Army (who are handling the Kashmiri separatists) was among their own in East Pakistan in 1971. They slaughtered and raped right and left. And they would have kept EP but for the whacking from India.— Tathagata Roy (@tathagata2) February 19, 2019
I am not suggesting that we go that far. But at least some distance? https://t.co/WxzEpdnw4Z
Joining hands with arch-rival Mehbooba Mufti, National Conference chief Omar Abdullah has appealed for calm.
"In a joint appeal @MehboobaMufti & I have condemned the attacks directed against Kashmiris in some parts of the country. We have appealed for calm so as to defeat the nefarious plans of our enemies who perpetrated attacks like the Pulwama attack," Mr Abdullah's tweet read.
"Intimidating Kashmiris is aimed at creating a wedge between different communities in India. We should not allow the terror to divide us. By using such incidents to divide us, we fall into the trap of those behind the attack on CRPF soldiers; we are wittingly or unwittingly playing to the tunes of our enemies," the two former Chief Ministers said in their appeal.