A 26-year-old Kashmiri shawl seller who was beaten up in West Bengal's Nadia district on Monday and the video of whose thrashing has gone viral, has told NDTV from an undisclosed location that he just wants to go back home. Not back to Jammu and Kashmir, but to the same town where he was "slapped around".
"I have lived there for 10 years, made a living, the people there are good people. Some rough men slapped me a few times that day because of some misunderstanding. But it is over. I want to go back there and restart my life," Javed Ahmed Khan, the shawl seller from Jammu and Kashmir's Budgam district, said.
On Monday, a local customer from whom Javed had gone to collect some dues showed him a Facebook page of one Javed Khan where some allegedly derogatory comments were made. Javed said he told him it was either someone else's Facebook page or a fake one.
By the time he returned home, word of the fake Facebook post spread and locals arrived at his house and started abusing him and slapping him till his nose started bleeding. Police came, dispersed the mob and told Javed and three other Kashmiris living there to go away "till things cool down", he said.
One of the Kashmiris had been living there for 40 years. All four left the town by a late night train.
"May be I made some mistake, maybe they made some mistake but I appeal to you to tell the police to let me return to that town. I just want to get on with my life," Javed said.
"I also want to return because if I don't, people will think I ran away because I did something wrong. I have not. Please help me to return there and get back to my normal life," Javed appealed.
Confirming the incident, top police sources said no case was filed after the incident because no complaint was received. Javed says he does not want to file any complaint.
Top police sources say they are trying to identify the culprits.
If they find the attack was premeditated, further action will be taken. But if it was a spontaneous outburst, then sources say police may not pursue the matter except for a stern warning to locals.
Jammu and Kashmir politician Omar Abdullah said he has been in touch with Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee over the video of the attack on the Kashmiri man. "Having seen the video doing the rounds on social media of a young Kashmiri man being beaten up in Kolkata I've been in touch with @derekobrienmp & @MamataOfficial regarding the matter. The culprits have been identified & strongest possible action has been assured," Mr Abdullah tweeted this afternoon.
There have been reports of attack on Kashmiris in some parts of the country after more than 40 CRPF soldiers were killed in a terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama, the worst attack on security forces in the Valley this century.
On Sunday, three Kashmiri shawl sellers in south Kolkata's Behala were heckled late night by a mob of around 200 people, which was looking for one specific person.
Some reports said that Kashmiri traders were roughed up in Bihar. There were reports of Kashmiri students being asked to vacate houses, where they had been living as tenants, in Uttarakhand.