Backlash in Shimla
Kashmir trade has been once again targeted by the fanatic populace that is being dumb driven by some zealots who wish to derive political mileage out of every hate mongering activity.
This time around some shop owners hailing from Kashmir who have setup shops in Shimla were targeted by a frenzied mob who broke open the shops owned by Kashmiri Muslims and looted and plundered the goods while the people around kept on watching as mute spectators.
Not only the people but the police which otherwise should have acted and tried to control the violent mob, kept themselves busy along the roadside and let the mob do their job and vandalize the business ventures of hapless Kashmiris.
The plundering of shops and business establishment of Kashmiri traders started after a calf was found dead in a nearby village and people no sooner started attacking the properties of Kashmiris by plundering the entire merchandise and even damaging the shops.
The miscreants, armed with hammers, sticks and iron rods broke open the shutters of the shops and looted and ransacked the goods. What is however, more worrying is the fact that 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 and the ire of these fanatics is directed towards the Kashmiris who have been staying and doing small time jobs and businesses in these areas to sustain their families back home.
One finds it quite strange that despite videos of the vandalism readily available on the social media, the Himachal Police has failed to make any arrests so far. Not even an exercise has been undertaken to restore some confidence among the business community from Kashmir so that they feel safe and secure while living in the area.
We have reports that several businessmen had called their families to stay with them and after the incident of vandalism; the families have been feeling harassed and threatened.
While, the police has miserably failed to nab the culprits involved despite all the evidence being available, it points out to the fact that the attackers are being patronized by the State, which is highly deplorable.
The state administration in Himachal should immediately take steps to ensure that the guilty are booked under stringent provisions of criminal law and a sense of security is generated among the Kashmiri diaspora so that they can restart their business as usual and remedial steps are taken for avoiding repetition of such incidents in future.
As far as the Jammu and Kashmir state administration is concerned, the administration should depute a high-level special team to Shimla including representatives from various trade bodies from Kashmir and Jammu for assessing the losses and to ensure that the lives and property of Kashmiri Traders are safe guarded.