Mob accosts, beats up Kashmiri shawl trader in West Bengal

Mob accosts, beats up Kashmiri shawl trader in WB

2 more vendors from Valley ‘assaulted’ on a train to Rothak

A shawl trader from Soibugh area of central Budgam district has become the latest victim of a string of mob attacks in West Bengal following last week’s bombing on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama which left 49 personnel of the force dead.

Javid Ahmad Khan (27) of Astanpora mohallah of Soibugh was accosted and mercilessly beaten by an abusive mob in Taherpur area of Nadia district last night.

A graphic video of the attack which was posted on social media showed blood oozing out from the nose of Khan as the mob abused and forced him to shout ‘Vande Mataram’.

One of his cousins told Greater Kashmir that Khan was staying at his rented accommodation along with his brother when the mob attack took place around 9 pm last night.

“Both Javid and his brother Mehraj-ud-Din had closed their shops following tension over Pulwama attack. But last night a mob attacked Javid at his rented accommodation,” he said, adding that the police arrived at the scene after an hour.

“They saved him from the mob and evacuated him to a safer location. But before their arrival on the scene Javid was assaulted by the mob,” he said.

Eldest among five siblings, Khan like scores of other Soibugh residents, has been engaged in shawl trading in West Bengal for the past many years. “He has been visiting Kolkata for the past 10 years,” said his cousin.

Police sub-inspector Avijit Biswas told Greater Kashmir over the phone from Taherpur that Khan was safe now.

“We have evacuated him to a safer location in Krishna Nagar. He is absolutely fine,” said Biswas, adding they have taken cognisance of the incident.

“We are looking for the attackers,” he said.

The attack on Khan comes just two days after chief minister Mamata Banerjee blamed the workers of the BJP and RSS for a string of assaults in the state, including a mob attack on a teacher who was forced to chant ‘Bharat Mata Ji Jay’ and issue an apology for his social media post on Pulwama attack.

Similar attacks took place on Kashmir traders at Budh Marg in Bihar last week when a mob vandalised their shops and threatened them to leave the state following the CRPF convoy attack in Pulwama.

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Two Kashmiri shawl vendors have claimed they were beaten up and called “stone pelters” by unidentified men on a train, forcing them to cut short their business trip to Rohtak, officials said Wednesday.

The incident comes amid reports of attacks on Kashmiri people in many parts of the country in the aftermath of the February 14 attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama that left more than 40 personnel dead.

“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’,” said Dinesh Gupta, deputy commissioner of police (Railways).

“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 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 has been registered and the matter is being probed, he said.

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 the 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,” she said.

The 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.