Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday condemned the attack by members of a fringe group on two Kashmiri traders in Lucknow, saying he was disgusted by the video of the assault. The video was widely circulated on social media, provoking nationwide outrage. Mr Gandhi also praised the man who saved the traders from the attack.
"While I'm disgusted by this video of Kashmiri traders being attacked in UP, I salute the braveheart who challenged the attackers. India belongs to its citizens, from every corner of our nation. I strongly condemn all acts of violence against our Kashmiri brothers & sisters," he tweeted.
Mohammed Afzal Naik and Abdul Salaam, who make a living selling dry fruits, were heckled, assaulted and harassed by a group of saffron wearing men, who told them that they were under attack because they were from Kashmir.
"They (attackers) said we are terrorists. We were told that we sell merchandise here and throw stones there. They started thrashing us. They asked for our Aadhaar cards," Mohammed Afzal Naik told the media and the police, reliving the traumatic moments of Wednesday morning.
In the video, man was seen trying to shield the traders from the attack and convincing the attackers to call the police.
The traders had also thanked the locals for rescuing them. "Those people saved us. They're good. They had reached before the police," Mr Naik said.
This comes after Kashmiri people came under attack in several parts of the country following the deaths of 40 CRPF jawans in a terror attack in Pulwama last month. The attacks were condemned by political parties.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also reacted to the incident. He cited the case of the attack to illustrate a point: "It is crucial to maintain an atmosphere of unity". Home minister Rajnath Singh also tried to drive home the point, saying he has asked all Chief Ministers to protect Kashmiri children in their states.