‘Crazed People' Attacking Our Kashmiri Brothers, State Govts Should Take Strict Action: PM Modi
Saffron-shirted assailants had slapped the Kashmiri dry fruit sellers and hit them with a wooden stick in Lucknow. PM Modi said UP government had immediately acted against the accused in the case.
A file photo of PM Narendra Modi during a rally. (Image: PTI)
Kanpur: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday asked state governments to take strict action if there is any attack on Kashmiris and described those who assaulted two traders in Lucknow as "crazed people."
"It is very important to maintain an atmosphere of unity in the country," Modi told a gathering here, while referring to the recent assault on the two Kashmiri men in Lucknow’s Daliganj area.
He said the UP government immediately acted against some "crazed people" who had targeted our "our Kashmiri brothers". "I would also like to request other state governments to take strict action, wherever such acts take place," he said.
The Prime Minister was addressing a gathering after flagging off the commercial run on Lucknow Metro's North-South corridor, through video conferencing from Kanpur.
Saffron-shirted assailants had slapped the Kashmiri dry fruit sellers and hit them with a wooden stick on Wednesday. They had also a posted a video of the assault on social media.
The attackers were members of the right-wing Vishwa Hindu Dal (VHD) and were arrested by the police after the video of the assault went viral.
The assault, the latest in a series of attacks on Kashmiris across the nation in the aftermath of the February 14 terror strike in Pulwama, was widely condemned.
The victims said they had been selling the dry fruits at the same spot for 20 years, but this was the first time that something like this has happened.
“They called us terrorists. We have been coming for 20 years. Something like this has never happened with us before," one of the dry fruit sellers told reporters.
"They said we are terrorists. We were told that we sell items here and throw stones there. They started thrashing us. They asked for our Aadhaar cards," he added.
The Prime Minister had last month, too, condemned the attacks on Kashmiris across the country in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack and said that "our fight is for Kashmir, not against Kashmiris".
But his message was seen as belated, as the Supreme Court had to first issue directions to the central government to stop attacks and appoint nodal officers to help the people of the state.
The leader of the Hindutva group, whose members attacked the men in Lucknow, even defended the beatings by saying "suspicious" Kashmiris had to be watched after the Pulwama terror attack.
"Yes, my workers beat them. After the attack on our army men with the help of Kashmiri jihadis, there is anger among the public,” the group's president, Ambuj Nigam, said.
"The Kashmiris pelt stones at our soldiers and wave the Pakistani flag. Why should we tolerate that?" he asked.
Nigam said the two hawkers had looked "suspicious" so his members asked them for identity cards. His men had called the police but they had taken too long to arrive, he said.
"Sometimes, when the police are late, we have to take matters into our own hands,” he added. Nigam said Facebook had blocked his account after he posted video of the assault on the vendors.
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