In the aftermath of the deadly attack on CRPF personnel in Pulwama, Kashimiris across the country are being harassed and attacked repeatedly by the right-wing extremists. On February 19, three Kashmiri shawl-sellers were attacked by several people in a local train in Delhi, and then were thrown out of the train. Even after repeatedly calling the police and telling them about the incident on the phone, the badly injured victims allegedly received no response, and had to rush to a hospital in West Delhi by themselves.
Like every winter, Tahir (30), Nadeem (22) and Gulzar (35), had come to Delhi to sell woollen clothes from Kashmir. They boarded the train from Sarai Rohilla, Delhi, on the morning of Tuesday, February 19, with the plan to get down at Sampla, Haryana. However, they were badly beaten and thrown off the train with all their belongings snatched, long before reaching their destination.
The victims described in a statement that they were travelling in an almost empty compartment, which had two male and two female passengers beside them. The male passengers had been throwing hostile glances at them ever since they boarded the train. After the train reached Shakur Basti, the two men allegedly started loudly throwing abuses at them, calling them dirty Kashmiris, and even abused their mothers and sisters. The Kashmiris tried to talk to them politely, but they reportedly did not listen to them.
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They said in the statement, “They claimed that they were in the armed forces and that we had killed their men. After we crossed Mangolpuri they started beating us. They were shouting abuse at us loudly. Around 15-20 men from the neighboring compartment came in and they also started beating and abusing us. They beat us with belts.”
After this traumatic incident, the three men were thrown off the train, after the mob snatched all their belongings. The victims repeatedly called the police, and tried to register a complaint, but the police did not respond. In a state of helplessness, they dragged themselves to a hospital in West Delhi, from where they called Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami, MLA from the Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir, and the state secretary of Communist Party of India (Marxist), who assured them that they will get them help.
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After finding out about the incident, Brinda Karat, Politburo member of CPI(M), Subhashini Ali, President of All India Democratic Women’s Association, and KM Tiwari, Delhi state secretary of CPI(M) rushed to the hospital where the victims were admitted. With their intervention, the police were reportedly forced to finally file an FIR, even though they had refused to respond before.
The three victims, who are now being taken care of, still cannot believe they made out of the train alive. “We cannot believe that we escaped death,” they said repeatedly.