Vandalizing of shops in Shimla: KCC&I seek protection of Kashmiri businessmen, demands action against culprits
Srinagar: Trade body, the Kashmir Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KCC&I) on Tuesday appealed Governor led administration to depute a high-level special team to Shimla including representatives from the KCC&I for assessing the losses and to ensure that the lives and property of Kashmiri Traders are safe guarded.
Addressing a news conference here at their office, Sheikh Ashiq president of KCC&I condemned the attack on shopkeepers, saying that Kashmiris should not be turned into scapegoats.
Terming the attack on Kashmir traders and students outside Kashmir as unfortunate’, Ashiq appealed Prime Minister NarendraModi to ensure safety and protection of businessmen and students from Jammu and Kashmir outside the State.
The Governor’s administration should also depute a high level special team to Shimla including representatives from the KCC&I for assessing the losses and to ensure that the lives and property of Kashmiri Traders are safe and secure, he said.
“The miscreants, armed with hammers, sticks and iron rods have reportedly broken the shutters of the shops and looted and ransacked the goods. We have been watching with growing concern, the selective targeting of Kashmiri businessmen, especially Handicraft dealers/Pheriwalla’s on social media through videos of hate speeches and physical violence, some exhorting people not to buy Kashmiri goods,” he said.
“To our knowledge, no investigation or action has been taken in any of the incidents. A hostile environment is being created and attempts made to stoke sectarian violence in various places across the country,” Ashiq said, adding that the Shimla incident was the result of the hate propaganda.
“We also appeal to the saner elements of the society, including members of the business community, intellectuals, intelligentsia, civil society and others not to remain silent. It’s the responsibility of all secular minded members of the society to take steps to protect the rights of Kashmiri people to freely conduct their businesses anywhere without fear or intimidation,” Ashiq said.
He also demanded that the guilty should be booked under stringent provisions of criminal law, saying that “we find it strange that despite videos of the vandalism readily available on the social media, the Himachal Police has failed to make any arrests so far.”
“This clearly points to goons being patronized by the State, which is deplorable. Such incidents cannot be allowed to be business as usual and remedial steps need to be taken for avoiding their repetition anywhere else,” he said.
He said while the KCC&I appreciates the decision of the Himachal Police to engage the services of forensic scientists to “scientifically probe” the episode of killing of a bovine animal. We believe that it would also serve the ends of justice to take action against the miscreants who have openly indulged in taking the law in their own hands.
“KCC&I also demanded that the Jammu and Kashmir Police register FIR’s and take legal action against people indulging in hate speeches and physical violence and freely spewing venom on the social media against members of the Kashmiri business community operating throughout the country,” he said, adding that they will also meet the higher authorities in this regard.