New Delhi: Against the backdrop of attacks on Kashmiri students in different parts of Haryana, and one incident of assault on a Kashmiri family in a South Delhi colony, a Hindutva group has put up posters at a handful of locations in Delhi calling for Kashmiri Muslims to be driven out of the country and sent to Pakistan.
The poster was seen at August Kranti Marg by a Hindustan Times correspondent, Azaan Javaid, who hails from Kashmir, and who tweeted it with the message: “Auto driver helped me with the translation of this lovely message which was followed by an awkward silence.”
The poster’s open call to violence against Kashmiri Muslims – “Kashmiri Jihadi Musalmanon ko Pakistan bhagao” – will be a test case for the BJP government at the Centre which has come under pressure to act against those circulating inflammatory messages on social media. While IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said WhatsApp must help the government identify and act against those hiding behind the cover of online anonymity, the Delhi poster has been issued in the name of one Balkishen Silsilwar of the Swadesh Hindu Ekta Manch and also contains his mobile number, 9810043993. When The Wire contacted Silsilwar on Friday night, he confirmed he had put up the poster.
After Javaid’s tweet, other Twitter users said they too had seen the poster at other locations.
The poster has come up at a time when ordinary Muslim students and residents from the state living in different parts of the country have been subjected to violence.
In February this year, there was an attack on two Kashmiri students in Mahendragarh in Haryana. They had gone to the mosque to offer afternoon prayers when they were attacked near Masani Chowk. Both the students, Aftab Ahmad and Amjad Ali, hailed from Rajouri in Jammu and were enrolled in the geography department of Central University of Haryana and were on their way back from the nearest mosque in Mahendragarh town, around 11 kilometres away from the university, when a group of 10-15 motorbike-borne men abused and attacked them.
Following an angry outburst from then state chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, who through a tweet urged the authorities to investigate and take strict action, the Haryana police filed an FIR and arrested six people in connection with the violence.
Thereafter in March this year, another Kashmiri student was assaulted near Maharishi Markandeshwar University in Ambala district of Haryana following an argument over the issue of Kashmir with a fellow student.
Following this attack on Mudasir Ahmad of Sopore, who was pursuing an undergraduate course in radiology, the university administration ordered the suspension of one of the youths allegedly involved in the incident.
It was later revealed that the two students had entered into a “heated argument” in their hostel. The accused student had then brought in some people and slapped the victim, following which his supporters had also beaten up Mudasir.
In another shocking incident, a Kashmiri family was assaulted, allegedly by their neighbours, in Siddharth Extension in South Delhi in May this year. While the family claimed it was the victim of a hate crime, the neighbours alleged that they got into a fight with the Kashmiri residents over their habit of feeding stray dogs.
There was, however, no doubt about five members of the family, including four women, being assaulted by a nearly 30-40 strong mob.
Not only were the residents who attacked the family armed with hockey sticks, they also allegedly raised anti-Kashmiri slogans, indicating that the incident was influenced by hatred.