- Home Ministry tells states, UTs to ensure safety of Kashmiris
- CRPF launches helpline for those who are facing harassment
- Troublemakers warned against spreading fake news
Days after over 40 CRPF soldiers were killed in a terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district, reports of Kashmiri people being targeted have emerged from different parts of the country, prompting the central government to issue an advisory to the states to ensure their safety. A shutdown has been called in Kashmir against the reported cases of harassment.
"There have been some reports of students and other residents of Jammu and Kashmir experiencing threats and intimidation in the wake of terrorist attack in Pulwama," said a Home Ministry official.
"Therefore, the MHA today issued an advisory to all states and UTs to take necessary measures to ensure their safety and security," he added.
In Uttarakhand's Dehradun, some Kashmiri students staying as tenants at local houses alleged they were asked to vacate by the homeowners, who fear attacks on their properties, according to news agency PTI. Similar reports also came from Haryana and Bihar.
In Bihar's capital Patna, Kashmiri traders told NDTV they were attacked by a mob.
"A number of men wielding sticks, gathered outside my shop. They raised slogans. I didn't even know about Pulwama attack then. But they destroyed the goods and beat me and the workers," Bashir Ahmed, a trader from Kashmir, told NDTV.
"I am working in Patna for the past 35 years and never faced any problem or discrimination. I live here for 6 months every year and like Patna better than Kashmir. I have nothing to do with politics. I am often so busy that I don't get a chance to catch up on news," he added.
A village panchayat in Punjab's Ambala has reportedly asked villagers to evict Kashmiri students living in rented accommodation within 24 hours.
Meanwhile, in Jammu, dozens of vehicles have been set on fire, even as curfew, clamped on the city in the wake of the attack, entered its third day. Those affected have alleged that the police are looking the other way whenever mobs attack properties and target Kashmiris in Jammu Tawi region.
The employees working in Civil Secretariat in Jammu have sent SOS messages asking for security. They say mobs have attacked their residential quarters at Janipur and damaged dozens of vehicles.
The CRPF soldiers were killed after a convoy was targeted by a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) suicide bomber on the Jammu-Srinagar highway on Thursday, triggering a wave of anger among the masses.
The CRPF, which had vowed to avenge the deaths, has offered to help the people of Kashmir in distress. The paramilitary force has released a helpline number for people of the state, who are facing harassment.
"Kashmiri students and general public, presently out of Kashmir can contact @CRPFmadadgaar on 24x7 toll free number 14411 or SMS us at 7082814411 for speedy assistance in case they face any difficulties/harassment," the paramilitary force tweeted.
India is building diplomatic and trade pressure on Pakistan, which is facing grave financial troubles. A day after withdrawing the 'Most Favoured Nation' (MFN) status granted to Pakistan, India on Saturday hiked the basic customs duty on all goods imported from the neighbouring country to 200%.