Nobody, dressed in saffron or green or any another colour, is above the law of the land. The PM has already spoken. Now, Yogi Adityanath must act.
India’s anger against Pakistan has turned completely inwards — and reached a point where many are now being driven by this anger. Their actions are completely imbued in hatred. A classic display of thuggery bearing out this hatred was seen in Uttar Pradesh’s capital, Lucknow — ironically, a city known for its rich cultural ethos.
The videos were filmed in Lucknow and widely shared. Now, one of the attackers, Bajrang Sonkar, has been arrested.
A video of two Kashmiri vendors being beaten up in Lucknow is being widely circulated on social media now, unmasking once again our savage selves. The purported video shows two men wielding lathis and dressed in saffron kurtas beating up the Kashmiri vendors, hurling expletives all along.
When a passerby asked the assaulters why they were beating up the two men, he was reportedly told because they “were Kashmiris”.
Another video of the same incident, which took place in Daliganj area of Lucknow at around 5 pm on March 6, shows the assaulters asking one of the Kashmiri men for his identification card.
Ever since 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans were killed in Kashmir’s Pulwama on February 14, Kashmiris have been attacked in several parts of the country. The series of incidents on February 22 led the Supreme Court of India to send notices to the Centre and 10 states, asking for their responses on a plea seeking intervention to prevent such attacks on Kashmiri students.
The top court directed the states to take action against the accused and posted the matter for further hearing. Continued attacks on Kashmiris are thus a violation of the orders of the Supreme Court. They are a violation of the Constitutional spirit of India. These attacks are a violation, indeed, of the very spirit of India itself, which rejects such ethnic discrimination and senseless violence, in all cases, all scenarios, unambiguously.
In countless incidents across India, we have seen how mob anger has claimed lives. With the way the two Kashmiris have been beaten up, anything could have happened to them.
Adil Ahmad Dar, the 20-year-old Kashmiri man who blew himself in an explosive-laden car in Pulwama, leading to the killing of 40 of India’s brave men was a misguided, indoctrinated youth. He received his indoctrination and training from across the border. By beating up people from Kashmir in this manner we run the grave risk of alienation and only pushing more to sympathise with the separatist agenda.
This violence against our own people also feeds into the Pakistani narrative of ‘Indian atrocities against Kashmiris’.
Reacting to the attacks on Kashmiris in the wake of Pulwama, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India’s fight is against terrorists, not Kashmiris. Attacks on Kashmiris are used by terrorists to win them over.
India’s anger against Pakistan over Pulwama has turned inwards. (Source: Reuters)
But we do not have to protect Kashmiris only because they would apparently cross the border if we don’t or because this allows Pakistan to take the moral high ground. This violence must be dealt with via a heavy hand by India because it is inhuman and unconstitutional. Anybody beating up Kashmiris is insulting the Constitution of India and the country must take a firm view against them.
Kashmiris have a right to work and study in any state or district of India. That is a right the Constitution gives them. Kashmiris turning to militancy — similar to anyone doing the same anywhere — is a problem that the security agencies of the country are mandated to deal with. Nobody, dressed in saffron or green or any another colour, is above the law of the land and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath needs to ensure that the Supreme Court directive is followed in letter and spirit and the lumpens who beat up the two Kashmiris are taught a strong lesson.
The PM has spoken — but more voices form the BJP need to condemn this. Home Minister Rajnath Singh can make a beginning.
(PS: Unlike many other incidents where the bystanders did nothing beyond make videos of such barbarity, it was the people of Lucknow who stepped in to save the two men. This gives me hope as a person who hails from the city of Lucknow.)