Ministry of Home Affairs today issued a fresh advisory to states and Union territories, asking them to reinforce the existing arrangements to ensure safety and security of persons belonging to Jammu and Kashmir residing in their respective jurisdictions.
The advisory comes a day after a viral video highlighted an incident where saffron-clad goons beat up two Kashmiri vendors selling dry fruits on a Lucknow road. The culprits were arrested after the hue and cry over brutality.
Referring to its earlier advisory issued on February 16, in view of some students and residents of J&K experiencing intimidation and harassment, MHA urged state/UT police authorities to take strict action against the offenders as per law.
Earler in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also asked state governments to take stern action if there is any attack on Kashmiris, calling those who targeted them recently in Lucknow "crazed people".
Addressing a public meeting in Kanpur today, Modi brought up the Lucknow incident. The prime minister called the perpetrators “sirphirey log” (crazed people) in near identical remarks at the meeting and on Twitter.
"It is very important to maintain an atmosphere of unity in the country," Modi said.
He congratulated the Yogi Adityanath government for acting promptly over what some crazed people did to “our Kashmiri brothers” in Lucknow. "I would also like to request other state governments to take the strongest action possible wherever there is an attempt to do something like this," he said.
Everything fine now: Kashmiri vendors after 'insaniyat' of locals and cops
The abusive rant of saffron-clad men against two Kashmiris sent shock waves across the country, but timely police action and warmth of locals have brought a sense of security to the vendors who were back to selling dry fruits on Friday.
The two, who are residents of Jammu and Kashmir Kulgam's district and come in Lucknow during winters to sell dry fruits, are doing brisk business in the same locality under the watchful eyes of the police and local vendors.
"People here are very good... everything is fine now," Mohd Afzal, one of the victims, told PTI. "We have no fear with the people extending so much love and care and there is no plan to rush back."
Asked what message they will take back for their people in the strife-torn Valley, Afzal said he would tell how people here are good. "It is only the 'goondas' (goons) here who do such thing while the people are very helping."
He said that they would depart after 20 more days and will be here again.
On Wednesday, Afzal and Abdul were selling dry fruits -- as has been the practice for the past several years -- when they were attacked with sticks by saffron-clad persons at Daliganj area, the video of which went viral on social media. Local people, however, rushed to their rescue and informed the police.
A vegetable vendor nearby said that the incident could have been avoided had the two been sitting nearby. "They were sitting a little distance away from us and so the saffron-clad youth could thrash them.... Had they been with us, we would not have allowed anyone to even touch them," Raju said.
Policemen on duty were seen moving around in the area on Friday and keeping a close eye on the crowds.
After the media focus, the two, however, have found themselves flooded with enquiries from the passersby asking them what had happened on that day.
"Many people, even those who we do not know, are coming and asking what had happened. All are very encouraging and helpful," Afzal added.
Four persons -- Sonkar, Himanshu Garg, Aniruddh and Amar Kumar -- have been arrested in connection with the incident, the latest in a series of attacks against Kashmiris across the country after the Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel.
(With inputs from PTI)