The Supreme Court today asked 10 states to take "prompt action" to ensure Kashmiris living across the country do not face social boycott or attacks, amid reports of threats and violence against them in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack.
The 10 states are Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Meghalaya, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Punjab and Maharashtra.
"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," a bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.
The top court was hearing a petition filed by Supreme Court advocate Tariq Adeeb seeking protection for Kashmiris amid reports of harassment and attacks on them after last week's Pulwama terror attack in which over 40 CRPF soldiers were killed.
The petitioner had also mentioned controversial tweets by Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy who endorsed a call to boycott "everything Kashmiri".
The top court today said that police officers who were appointed as nodal officers to deal with incidents of mob killings will now be responsible to deal with cases of alleged assault on Kashmiris.
The court told the Home Ministry to give wide publicity of the nodal officers' contact details so that those who need help can approach them easily.
"We came to the Supreme Court after Kashmiri students were attacked in universities... We hope the court order will prevent any further incidents," the petitioner said.
The court will hear the matter next week again.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah appreciated the court's order.
Grateful to the Hon Supreme Court of India for doing what our elected leadership in Delhi should have been doing. The union HRD minister was busy living in denial & a Governor was busy issuing threats. Thank goodness the Hon SC stepped in.- Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) February 22, 2019
The government has said those who disturb peace or spread rumour will face severe punishment. Helplines also have been launched by the police in several states. The Central Reserve Police Force, which lost over 40 of its soldiers in the terror strike, has asked those who need help to contact them via a helpline.
Three days after the attack on the CRPF convoy last week, the Home Ministry had told all the states and Union Territories to ensure the safety of people from Jammu and Kashmir after it received reports of harassment and threats against them, as the nation mourned the deaths of the soldiers.