PKONWEB Report (NEW YORK/ISLAMABAD): India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday cautioned his voters, citing the case of the attack on Kashmiri vendors and traders in Lucknow, saying, “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.
Hate crime against Kashmiris is said to be witnessing an upward swing dotting the election campaign as it catches speed ahead of national election.
On Wednesday, two Kashmiri dry fruits vendors were assaulted by Hindutva goons in Lucknow, UP, now a BJP ruled state where Muslims are in sizable number.
The attackers were wearing saffron cloths typically adorned by ultra-nationalists who traditionally support PM Modi, as he campaigns for a second stint to be India’s prime minister–polls are weeks ahead.
The incident took place at 5 pm on Wednesday in central Lucknow’s Daliganj area. The men who assaulted the vendors can be heard in the videos saying they did so as they were from occupied Kashmir.
One of the attackers beat the men with a wooden stick. In one of the videos, one of the Kashmiri men is seen covering his head and pleading the attackers to stop beating him.
Several local residents of Lucknow intervened and asked the men to stop further assault of the two vendors. “Don’t take law into your own hands. Call the police,” one the locals can be seen saying.
The Kashmiri men have been selling dry fruits in Lucknow for many years.
The main accused, who claims to be the president of the Vishwa Hindu Dal, has not been arrested and has been posting updates on Facebook. The video of the attack that he shared on Facebook has been taken down.
The attack was part of a countrywide backlash in India against Kashmiris after it became known that a 19-year-old occupied Kashmir was allegedly the suicide bomber responsible for last month’s terror attack in Pulwama, in which 44 CRPF personnel died.
Many believe the attack was staged (false flag op) to swing votes in the upcoming national elections in Modi and his party BJP’s favor as opinion polls indicated “huge slide in their popularity countrywide”, according to Jan 25 India Today survey report.
The former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi, questioning his stance on the attacks on Kashmiris across India.
“Dear PM @narendramodi Sahib, this is what you had spoken against & yet it continues unabated. This is the state governed by your handpicked Chief Minister. Can we expect action in this case or do we file your concern & assurances as a jumla, meant to placate but nothing more?” Omar Abdullah tweeted on Thursday.
“Nothing will do more damage to the idea of India in J&K than videos like these. Keep thrashing Kashmiris like this on the streets at the hands of RSS/Bajrang Dal goons & then try to sell the idea of “atoot ang”, it simply wont fly (sic),” the National Conference leader posted.