PKONWEB Report (Dubai) — While the Pulwama attack in Indian-administered Kashmir on Thursday left more than 44 security personnel dead and scores injured, it also evoked fear and insecurity among Muslims living in Kashmir and the Kashmiri Muslims living across India.
Following the attack, the Indian government withdrew the security of five Kashmiri leaders and all public facilities extended to them. A notification of dropping the security cover has also been released by the Indian ministry of interior.
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Civil and human rights groups have warned against rising communal tensions across the country as Muslim Kashmiris living in Hindu-majority India face property evictions, job suspensions and attacks on social media.
During the past two days, Kashmiris in the occupied valley have been observing a complete shutdown against the “harassment and attacking” of Kashmiri citizens in India and the Valley.
Since Thursday, many Muslim Kashmiris have been threatened, assaulted or forced to vacate their residences, a TRT report said.
According to the report, Kashmiri Muslims are facing a backlash in Hindu-majority India, mainly in the northern states of Haryana and Uttarakhand, forcing the federal interior ministry to issue an advisory to all states to “ensure their safety and security and maintain communal harmony”.
Kashmiris have reportedly come under attack also by angry mobs belonging to hard-line Hindu groups. A man believed to be Kashmiri, was thrashed by mob at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.
Twenty-three-year-old Nisar Ahmad, who studies physics at an institute in Dehradun, in the Uttarakhand state, said Kashmiri students were beaten by a mob on February 15.
“Following the suicide attack, two Kashmiri students were ruthlessly beaten by a mob in Sudhowala area. We have not even ventured out of our rooms since the attack.”
Ahmad said around 70 people took out a rally in the area, “chanting slogans like shoot the traitor Kashmiris and drive them out.”
“The situation here is really tense, we all feel insecure here,” he said, adding that they all want to go back home but it seems impossible. “We are scared of even moving out of our rooms. Our supplies are finished,” he added.
Another student, Asma Ashraf, said she fears for her life after her hostel was surrounded by a mob. “They asked the college authorities to throw the Kashmiris out,” she said. Muhammad Dawood, 23, said he is “unable to move out after attacks by Hindu right-wing mobs.”
“Our landlady saved us as the mob entered our room. I hid in a bathroom,” Dawood said, adding that more than 20 students are stuck and unable to move out “fearing more attacks on their way”.
In New Delhi, 25-year-old Sara Khursheed said Kashmiris are being looked at with suspicion after the attack. “Yesterday, I was returning home from work. A passer-by shouted at me and said these Kashmiris are happy over the killings. We fear we might be thrown out by our landlords,” she said.
Bashir, 24, from Haryana state’s Ambala city, said “violent mobs threatened” Kashmiri students to leave their rented places “immediately through announcements on loudspeakers”.
“We are on the run since yesterday without food. We left the rented place and now the administration has put us in a hostel with some security. We want to go home… We are around 200 students from Kashmir inside the hostel and we can’t go out,” he said.
On February 14, 44 Indian paramilitary soldiers were killed after an explosives-laden van ripped through buses in a convoy of 78 vehicles, carrying some 2,500 members of the Indian force.
Adil Ahmad Dar, 20, has been identified as the suicide bomber. Dar’s parents say he joined a militant group after having been beaten by troops three years ago.
Meanwhile, political leaders from Kashmir appealed to the government to ensure security of Kashmiris across India, while many people on Twitter said their homes were open to Kashmiris seeking shelter.