3 Kashmiri youth, a journalist attacked in India in continued backlash after Pulwama bombing

Published February 23, 2019
Kashmiri journalist Jibran Nazir. ─ Photo courtesy The Indian Express
Kashmiri journalist Jibran Nazir. ─ Photo courtesy The Indian Express

Three Kashmiri youth in New Delhi and a journalist in Pune have been attacked in the last 36 hours in continued violent backlash against Kashmiris in the aftermath of the Pulwama suicide blast, Indian and Kashmiri media reported.

According to the Kashmir Media Service (KMS) on Friday, three Kashmiri youth were assaulted in the Nangloi area of New Delhi.

In a separate incident, a 24-year-old Kashmiri journalist, Jibran Nazir, was beaten up in Pune on Thursday night.

As per Nazir, who works with a newspaper in Pune, the assailants told him that they would send him back to Kashmir.

Read: Kashmiri students flee Indian backlash after Pulwama suicide attack

Meanwhile, authorities have booked an "illegally detained youth" under the Public Safety Act (PSA) — that allows detention for up to six months without trial — in Pulwama district, KMS reported.

A resident of the Chatpora area in the district, Muzamil Ganai, was shifted to Kot Bhalwal Jail in Jammu after he was booked under the PSA.

Explore:How Kashmir's senior citizens are battling the Public Safety Act

Ganai had been arrested by police last week on charges of pelting stones at the Indian forces personnel. His family members, however, refuted the police claims that he was involved in the stone pelting.

On Friday, India's Supreme Court ordered bolstered protection for Kashmiris who were facing discrimination and violent backlash after the Pulwama attacks.

The top court told state governments and police chiefs to ensure there are no "attacks, threats or social boycott" over the February 14 bombing in occupied Kashmir — the worst in the territory in 30 years — in which 40 Indian soldiers were killed.

More than 700 Kashmiri students, workers and traders have returned to occupied Kashmir from the rest of India to escape reprisals for the attack, which has also ratcheted up regional tensions after India has alleged that those who planned the attacks had links with the Pakistani state — a charge that Islamabad has vigorously denied.

Video footage of Kashmiris being taunted or beaten has been widely shared on social media, while right-wing Hindu groups and some TV news channel pundits have encouraged reprisals.

Some Kashmiris have been suspended by Indian universities for their social media comments on the case. Others have been arrested on sedition charges.

Human rights situation in IoK turning from 'bad to worse': Qureshi

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday wrote a letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding the increasing human rights violations in Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK).

In the letter, the text of which was released by the Foreign Office (FO) today, Qureshi said that in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack the human rights situation in IoK was turning from "bad to worse".

"As if the use of pellet guns against Kashmiri protestors, the outright refusal by India to initiate political dialogue with the Kashmiris and Pakistan, ongoing “shoot to kill” orders against Kashmiris, were not enough, there is now a concerted campaign to whip up hatred and violence against Kashmiris and discrimination against them across India," the letter read.

He said that the Indian government was "leveraging this tragedy for electrical gains" in the upcoming Indian elections, adding that in the process, the space for political dialogue and negotiations with Kashmiris and Pakistan were being constrained.

"Even more worryingly, the Indian government has chosen to remain silent in the wake of most appalling acts of violence against Kashmiris, perpetrated by extremist elements," Qureshi wrote.

He welcomed calls by the European Parliament's Sub-Committee on Human Rights on India to end its atrocities in the occupied Kashmir. He also welcomed the commissioner's concerns that the Pulwama attack was being used by "such elements as justification for threats and violence against Kashmiris and Muslims in various parts of India".

The foreign minister called on the commissioner to continue monitoring the situation and to call for the protection of people from harm on the basis of their identity and ethnicity.

"I would also urge you to issue a call on India to allow unhindered access to UN mechanisms and yourself to IoK. India must also be obliged to comply with its international humanitarian law obligations with respect to IoK."

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