Kashmiris face backlash | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 18, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 18, 2019

Kashmiris face backlash

Hindu-majority India warns against rising communal tensions after JeM suicide bomber kills 44 policemen

India has warned against rising communal tensions across the country as Kashmiris living outside their state faced property evictions, job suspensions and attacks on social media after a suicide bomber killed 44 policemen in the region.

The car bomb attack on a security convoy on Thursday, claimed by Pakistan-based Islamist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and carried out by a 20-year-old Kashmiri man, was the worst in decades of insurgency in the disputed area, which is claimed in full by both the nuclear-armed neighbours but ruled in part.

Kashmiri Muslims, meanwhile, are facing a backlash in Hindu-majority India, mainly in the northern states of Haryana and Uttarakhand, forcing the federal home ministry to issue an advisory to all states to "ensure their safety and security and maintain communal harmony".

Aqib Ahmad, a Kashmiri student in Uttarakhand capital Dehradun, said the owner of the house he was staying in had asked him to move out fearing an attack on his property. Rates for air tickets to Kashmir have sky-rocketed as tensions escalate, he said.

Two other students in Dehradun said they also had been asked to vacate their rooms immediately.

"Where are we supposed to go?" Waseem Akram told Reuters, demanding authorities to ensure safety of all Kashmiri students.

Local media reported that some Kashmiri students were assaulted by members of Hindu right-wing groups in Uttarakhand, while a Kashmiri man had been booked by the police in the southern city of Bengaluru under a colonial-era sedition law for a post allegedly backing the militants. Reuters was not able to independently verify the reports.

Police in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) state said they were providing temporary accommodation to people returning to Kashmir. The police urged Kashmiris to contact their hotline for "speedy assistance in case they face any difficulties/harrasment".

Fear has engulfed Kashmiri students in Haryana's Ambala district after a video on social media showed a village headman asking people to evict Kashmiri students in the area.

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