As snow continues to cut off the Kashmir valley from the rest of the India, thousands of stranded Kashmiris are waiting in Jammu to be airlifted back home. However, chaos ensued when clashes erupted between few college students from Gandhi Memorial Science College and the stranded passengers on February 11.
On Monday, the stranded passengers had gathered near Mufti Hostel, near Science College to register themselves when they started protesting against the alleged failure of the administration to help them “in the hour of crisis”. Following the protest, a few students started through stones at the protesting Kashmiri passengers.
A local requesting anonymity told Kashmirwalla that the students thrashed them saying, “You are a Pakistani, go to Pakistan. Yahan Modi Raj Chalega (Only Modi raj will work here),” and later hurled stones at them.
As per the local reports, the students of Gandhi Memorial Science College, gathered outside the campus and raised “objectionable slogans.” The Kashmirwalla reported that the students chanted, “Desh ke gaddaro ko, goli maaro saalon ko (Shoot the traitors)” and “Vande Mataram”. The incident has created panic among the stranded Kashmiris. However, the police reached the spot and got the situation under control.
The stranded passengers have also complained of higher charges. Parvez Choudhary of Welfare and Financial Association (WAFA) said, “Currently, there are thousands of Kashmiris who are stranded and are living on the roads. We are arranging food for them. Today, a few of them went to the nearby gurudwara to have food. The stranded passengers include cancer patients and kids as well. It’s getting difficult here as they are being charged twice of what is normal. It has been 10 days since they have been stranded like this.”
Adding that the Kashmiris have left hotel rooms as the hotels have started charging them more than usual and they were unable to pay the amount, he said, “A bun which costs Rs 5, is sold to them for Rs 30.”
Meanwhile, a local from Jammu, said, “Kashmiris raised anti- India slogans after which college students were agitated and retaliated. Now, the situation has turned Jammu Vs Kashmir and there is panic everywhere. This should not have happened.”
The video of the clash also went viral yesterday, eliciting many reactions on social media. Sameer Yasir, journalist working with New York Times and First Post called for a “boycott of Jammu.” His tweet read, “Immediate boycott of Jammu, nothing else! Instead of helping these stranded passengers, these guys in Jammu are hurling stones at them. India wants to compete with China in infra dev, but could not build proper road connecting Kashmir, even after 70 years.”
Another tweet read, “Kashmiri residents set up Community Kitchen for Jammu Drivers, as Jammu residents thrash Kashmiri Passengers.”
The administration in Kashmir has taken note of the incident and arranged means of returning. In reply to former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s request, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted in reply, “Army to help air-lift stranded students and others from Jammu to Srinagar and vice-versa. Inclement weather restricted their movement. Acknowledge the phone call of @MehboobaMufti on this matter. Also just spoke with DC Jammu.”
The only surface link that connects the valley from the rest of the country has been blocked because of heavy snowfall. Even the trucks to carry goods to the region remain stranded. The stranded passengers also include students who had come to Jammu to appear for GATE exams.
Read More: Heavy Snowfall Throws Life Out of Gear in Kashmir