Amid reports of Kashmiri people claiming they were being targeted in many parts of the country in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack that killed over 40 CRPF personnel, three Kashmiri shawl vendors have claimed they were beaten up and called "stone pelters" by unidentified men on a train. According to the officials, the vendors were then forced to cut short their business trip to Rohtak.
Commenting on the incident, Dinesh Gupta, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Railways) said, "Three Kashmiri shawl vendors boarded the general compartment of a local train from Sarai Rohilla station at around 10.40 am for a business trip to Sampla in Haryana. They claimed they were pushed into a corner and called 'stone pelters'."
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"When they objected, the accused allegedly abused and slapped two Kashmiri vendors. The attackers said 'you hurl stones there (in Kashmir) and come to earning a livelihood here'. Other passengers also joined in and created a ruckus," the DCP (Railways) said.
Thereafter, the three Kashmiri men de-boarded at Nangloi station, leaving their bags containing shawls and suits worth around Rs 2 lakh in the train, Gupta added.
A case was registered and the matter was being probed, he said.
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The three men said they came to Delhi in December last year and were staying in Sarai Rohilla. They have been coming here for business purposes for the last 10 years.
The three Kashmiri men approached Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat through their local MLA. Karat helped them file a complaint with police.
The men claimed the attackers told them they were from the armed forces. They said 'you are the ones who killed our men'.
"Around 15-20 other men also joined in and beat the Kashmiri men with belts. The incident took place when they were crossing Mangolpuri. One of the three Kashmiris suffered severe head injuries and another sustained wounds on face," Karat said.
Police said the attackers were yet to be identified, and it was not clear if they were from the armed forces since they were in plain clothes.
India TV Editor-in-Chief Rajat Sharma’s appeal to all: Kashmiris are our brothers and sisters. Some Kashmiris may have taken up the gun, but to view every Kashmiri student and trader in different parts of India with suspicion is uncalled for. It is our duty to protect our Kashmiri brothers and sisters in this hour of crisis and tension.