Agence India Press
Srinagar: A good chunk of Kashmiris’ including students’ staying in different cities of India for education and business have heaved a sigh of relief following the union government’s directive to all states and Union territories not to target people from Jammu and Kashmir for police reporting.
The union government today asked all states and Union territories not to target people from Jammu and Kashmir for police reporting for merely being residents of the state.
Kashmiri students pursuing education in different states’ have hailed the union government directive and hoped that it would be followed in letter and spirit by the states.
“It is a good move and should give much-needed respite to students’ pursuing education in different cities across India. Over the years, security agencies grow skeptical with the presence of Kashmiris and especially students are harassed. But hopefully the move will put an end to harassment of Kashmiris,” Shafat Ahmad, pursuing M.A History in a Dehradun college told Agence India Press (AIP) over phone.
Over the years, Kashmiris seen as suspects outside the state often have to furnish their bio-data in concerned police stations and on numerous occasions Kashmiri students’ have been held for questioning by security agencies’ merely on the basis of suspicion. On other occasions, cases have been registered against them.
The issue has been vehemently raised by Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah with union home ministry many a times.
Team of interlocutors which visited Jammu and Kashmir on few occasions in the past had also reflected Chief Minister’s views on harassment of Kashmiris’ outside the state. Every year, during harsh Kashmir winter, Kashmiris do shawl and carpet business cities of India. These people also have felt respite following the union government directive.
“We are suspected almost everywhere in India. On many occasions, Kashmiris’ have been held by different policing agencies for questioning only on the basis of suspicion. The move will definitely give respite to Kashmiris and help them do their business hassle- free,” Farid Ahmad, doing shawl business in Faridabad told Agence India Press.
In an advisory to all states and UTs, the Ministry of Home Affairs asked them to exercise utmost sensitivity while making inquiries about residents of Jammu and Kashmir living in different parts of the country.
“It has also asked the states to issue appropriate instructions to all police stations that they (Kashmiris) should not be singled out unnecessarily for police reporting merely on grounds of their being original Kashmiri residents,” a statement issued by the Ministry said.
It asked the states and Union territories to report to it the action taken in such cases. It may be recalled that the interlocutors’ visiting the state had received representations from the commoners and various stakeholder groups that Kashmiri boys and girls were isolated by the police in states’ outside J&K and asked to report to police stations merely on account of the fact that they belong to Kashmir.
“This kind of treatment affects the sensibility of the residents of state and they experience a sense of humiliation leading to feeling of alienation and injustice. The Indian Constitution and the law of the land do not permit discrimination on account of race, religion, caste and creed,” it said.
The advisory comes close on the heels of Mumbai Police issuing unsigned notice to its police stations asking them to keep a close watch on Kashmiri people. The J&K Chief Minister had raised the issue with the Union Home Ministry on several occasions and had also said that this was insulting for the residents of his state.
Omar had also assured full assistance from the state police, if there was any query from other states and Union Territories.
(With inputs from Delhi Bureau)
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