Rift between Jammu and the Kashmir Valley widens
Kashmiris are facing attacks in Jammu over the Pulwama attack, further deepening the communal fissures in the trouble-torn state.
Violence had erupted in Jammu, where curfew has been clamped in many places, on Friday, with dozens of vehicles reportedly belonging to people hailing from the Valley torched or vandalised. More than a dozen people had been injured.
There were some more instances of violence on Saturday but the situation was largely under control, police sources said.
The army staged flag marches for the second consecutive day in some sensitive areas.
Officials said mobs attacked Kashmiri government employees staying in the Janipur locality of Jammu city. The police dispersed them.
Hundreds of Kashmiris were shifted from sensitive localities to safer areas of Jammu city and many more returned to the Valley.
Kashmiri journalist Mohammad Abu Bakr, on an assignment in Jammu, said he and a few other reporters shifted from the sensitive Raghunath Bazar locality to the safer Gandhi Nagar area because they felt unsafe.
“The hotel owner initially refused to rent a room to us, saying we are Kashmiris. We had to seek police help to get a room. People were staring at us all the time as if we had carried out the (Pulwama) attack. Later in the evening some drunk people robbed us,” Abu Bakr told The Telegraph. “We had to move to another locality.”
Newspaper offices in the Valley on Saturday received distress calls for help from Kashmiris staying in other states, where they have been facing assault and threats.
A shutdown was observed in the afternoon in Srinagar. Traders have called a Kashmir bandh against the violence on Sunday.
Former chief minister Omar Abdullah visited Delhi on Saturday to take up the issue of alleged harassment of Kashmiris elsewhere.
“Just met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh Sb to personally pay my condolences for the tragic deaths in Pulwama on Thursday. I requested him to take all steps necessary to ensure Jammu remains calm,” Omar tweeted.
“I took the opportunity to inform Rajnath Singh Sb of the reports I had received of Kashmiri students & others being threatened/harassed and requested him to appoint a nodal officer in HMO India to ensure the directive issued to states is followed in letter and spirit,” the National Conference leader added.
An official spokesman said governor Satya Pal Malik held a meeting to review law and order. The governor, who is running the administration in Jammu and Kashmir, directed the police to “take strict action without mercy against those indulging in any type of violence, arson or rumour-mongering irrespective of political and religious affiliation”.