Called us stone pelters, say 2 Kashmiri traders thrashed in UP; 4 arrested

Saffron-kurta clad lathi wielding youths beat-up two Kashmiri young men selling dry fruits at Daliganj Bridge in Lucknow on Wednesday

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Saffron-kurta clad lathi wielding youths beat-up two Kashmiri young men selling dry fruits at Daliganj Bridge in Lucknow on Wednesday accusing them of pelting stones in Kashmir. Four persons have been arrested by the Lucknow Police in this connection.

While a criminal and murder accused Bajrang Sonkar was arrested last night, three more persons were arrested on Thursday. Those arrested today are Himanshu Garg, Anirudh Kumar and Amar Mishra. Speaking to reporters, Lucknow SSP Kalanidhi Naithani said that all the accused belong to an organisation called Vishwa Hindu Dal Trust run by one Ambuj Nigam.

Today the police also added additional Sections to the FIR, including  IPC 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 307 (attempt to murder). 

The police have also added Section 7 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, which is to check molesting of a person to prejudice employment or business. 

A case had been filed against unknown men at Hasanganj police station on Wednesday under IPC sections 147 (punishment for rioting), 323(punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace).

A video clip of the beating has gone viral on the social media. A few men in saffron kurtas reportedly got down from a car and confronted the Kashmiri young men, who like every year, sell dry fruits at the spot.

Their rudely demand to see their Aadhar card while beating them up with sticks. While two men managed to escape the third one was being brutally assaulted when a passerby came to his rescue asking the goons why they were beating him.

In the video the goon is heard replying: “He is a Kashmiri. His people are pelting stones”.

The passerby says: “So what? Call the police but don’t take the law in your own hands”. 

He stayed with the Kashmiri victim till the police arrived on the scene. 

Accused Sonkar has around a dozen criminal cases against him till 2011, including murder, loot and Arms Act, said the police.

The Kashmri victims belong to Kulgam. In a video message released by the Lucknow police they thank the police for their prompt action. 

However, Mushtaque, a member of the Kashmir Arts Association, an organization of Kashmiri traders working in Lucknow pointed out that this was not the first incident of public beating of Kashmiris in the city.

“A similar incident had occurred in Gomti Nagar a few days ago where two Kashmiri shawl sellers were drinking tea at a tea-stall”.

He said that the men managed to run to save their lives. No case was filed by the victims who are terrified by such incidents and more than happy to have survived the public wrath.

Mushtaque admitted that since the Pulwama incident business of people from Kashmir has sharply declined. A shawl-seller himself he said that he has not ventured out for the last week due to the hostile atmosphere.

Such incidents are occurring in violation of the Supreme Court order of February 22 asking 10 states, including Uttar Pradesh, to take “prompt action” to ensure Kashmiris living across the country do not face social boycott or attacks in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack.

“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 had said.

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