CRPF receives distress calls from Kashmiris.
Apprehending physical and verbal attacks from frenzied groups in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack, around 100 Jammu and Kashmir students from various colleges across north India, mostly from Dehradun in Uttarakhand, have returned to the Valley.
The police control room in J&K received 50 distress calls in the past two days.
The CRPF received distress calls from Kashmiris in Jammu city, Maharashtra and Dehradun, seeking assistance, a senior government official told The Hindu.
The J&K administration also informed the MHA that most of the distress calls were coming from Dehradun and Ambala in Haryana.
A few Kashmiri students and residents were also booked for posting messages celebrating the Pulwama terror attack on social media.After reports of attacks on Kashmiris emerged, the CRPF on Saturday issued an advisory and said all such students and residents could contact its toll free helpline Madadgar-14411 for speedy assistance in case of any “difficulties or harassment.”
The helpline was established in 2017 to help local Kashmiri population. The Home Ministry had issued an advisory to all States and Union Territories on Saturday to ensure the security and safety of Kashmiri students and residents.
“Over 24 hours since Saturday evening (till Sunday) we received 22 calls from Kashmiris. Some sought security due to apprehensions of harassment. A few families in Jammu requested for food items as they have not been able to go to markets which are shut due to curfew. Representatives from the nearest CRPF unit and offices in Jammu were sent to these callers with food and other essentials,” an official said.
Nasir Khuehami, a spokesperson of the J&K Students Organisation, said in the past three days their helpline (9915378749) received 800 calls from Kashmiri students and their parents. “Most calls are coming from Dehradun. Many students were thrashed by members of the Bajrang Dal and the VHP. The police are helping us and so far 100 students have returned to their homes. I stayed in Dehradun for four years but never witnessed something like this before. No one treated us as an outsider,” Mr. Khuehami said. He said the student body had set up a temporary shelter in Chandigarh.
Ashok Kumar, Uttarakhand ADG (Law and Order) said police pickets and patrolling have been enhanced near all the educational institutions and hostels in Dehradun.
“We are bound by the constitution and we are ensuring safety of all Kashmiri students in Dehradun. We are also taking action against anyone expressing anti-India and anti-national sentiments. We are appealing to both sides, those taking out processions that it should be peaceful and asking the other side to exercise restrained view,” said Mr. Kumar.
Madhur Verma, Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) tweeted, “Security has been strengthened all across the National Capital including minority dominated areas. Visibility of police personnel has been increased. We’ll ensure the safety and security of every citizen including Kashmiri inhabitants and students living in Delhi.”
This report was first published in The Hindu, February 17, 2019.