Kashmiri Woman’s Beating In Delhi: The Complete Story

by Tahir Bhat

SRINAGAR: The Srinagar families who were marshalled publicly in East Delhi’s Sidharth Enclave were on the locality’s priority list for their faith and Kashmir origin, details that have appeared in public domain suggest. The local residents association had written a three-page letter to the Prime Minister, Home Minister and many others expressing serious reservations over the continuation of the Kashmir families in the DDA owned colony as tenants.

Screenshot of a Video.

The incident has triggered serious insecurity among the Kashmiris living in Delhi. There are thousands of Kashmiris in Delhi for reasons of businesses, education and even in jobs. They said the details offered by the documents suggest the campaign is a consistent one and can have costs for Kashmiri Muslims in other Delhi localities as well.

The officials in Delhi and Srinagar have maintained that the attacks on the Kashmiri families were the result of residents discomfort with their love for the dogs! They said the families were feeding the dogs and it was a problem with the locality.

But a letter that Flat Occupants Association (FOA) of the Siddhartha Extension sent to Home Minister details things intelligently. It starts with a dog and ends in Srinagar!

“At night, the residents cannot move inside the colony due to fear of being bitten either by DOGs or being harassed/tortured by the above-named persons and also being falsely implicated in criminal cases,” S N Panday, the president of FOA writes to the Prime Minister of India. “They claim to have good connections with Smt Maneka Gandhi and it is due to her pressure upon the local police/authorities, that on complaints of resident / RWA, no action is taken against these persons, who have been indulging in all sorts of nefarious and illegal activities.”

The letter goes on: “The sole aim is to break the rules/law and then show their might, by abusing the residents and threatening them to either implicate in criminal cases, get their house demolished and now off late, these men have started indulging in molesting the ladies of the colony and they have also threatened the men that if they raise their voice or make complaints, the ladies will be abducted to Kashmir and the families will be ruined.”

The devil emerges in the detail of the letter. On page 2, it mentions: “We have serious apprehensions that these persons are involved in certain illegal activities viz harbouring of terrorists. They have taken five flats on rent and residents have noticed the movement of suspicious people in the colony at night. Since this whisper started spreading in the colony, the persons started feeding dogs under the garb of animal welfare; they do not allow residents to move in the colony at night.”

Screenshot of a video in which people beat Kashmiri woman’s in East Delhi.

The letter mentions the names of various people including Azra, Salam, Bilal and Ashish and says they have taken five flats on rent and are resorting to “illegal” activities. Barring feeding dogs, it does not mention anything illegal, however. The letter claims that the residents are literally under house arrest during the night but offers not much of details about how they are enforcing this.

“These persons claim that they are Muslims and have been trained to destroy the families of Kafirs and make their lives as hell,” the April 2, the letter mentions on page 2. “…these residents have been left with no other alternative, but to unite together and take action in self defence.”

After the family was publicly marshalled by the resident on Friday night, and it was captured on cell phone and put on the internet, it triggered mass condemnations in Kashmir. The video shows the attackers carrying sticks and dubbing their targets as “Kashmiri terrorists”.

Omar Abdullah, J&K’s former Chief Minister, shared the video on his twitter and urged the Home Minister to take action against the attackers. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday spoke to Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh and brought to his notice some cases of harassment of people from Jammu & Kashmir at Delhi and Himachal Pradesh.

The Chief Minister requested the Union Home Minister to issue necessary instructions to the concerned agencies so that the people from the State, who are studying, doing business or working in other parts of the country, do not feel inconvenienced and they carry on their activities without any interference. Singh has assured the Chief Minister to look into the cases and take strict action.

Within two days after the mass outrage over the attack led police to act in the case. Police arrested four persons, so far.

On Saturday, Indian Express reported, Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik informed Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba that the incident had nothing to do with the “origin” of the siblings, an official said. Later the MHA, in a statement, reiterated: “The incident has nothing to do with the origins of the family, which is from J&K. It was a local issue. The complainant is an avid dog lover and animal rights activist. There have been more than 50 complaints and counter-complaints against residents of Siddhartha Enclave and the complainant on the issue of feeding of stray dogs. A dispute over feeding of stray dogs took place on Thursday night.” The police, in the meanwhile, have registered a case against the family as well, on basis of the complaint of the residents, according to the newspaper.

Bilal Hussain, whose family was targeted by the mob on Friday night, said neither the incident is communal nor the entire locality is involved. “These are a few people not more than 15 who are doing it for their ulterior motives and trying to give it a communal colour,” Bilal told Kashmir Life. “It has a set pattern; they discover the reason for harassment. A few years back, my father a retired official – barely survived a deliberate accident in the colony and police hushed up the case despite the fact that I have given them all the details.” He said a similar attack was mounted two years back but that time the attackers carried no sticks in their hands.

“We are living in this colony for last 11 years. I am doing the job and my sister is also working,” Bilal said. “For the last seven years, we are subjected to harassment by a few people. Police would not help us and would not entertain the complaints earlier.”

Bilal said they are routinely being dubbed and ridiculed for being Kashmiris, Muslims, terrorists, and extremists. Feeding dogs is a new addition, he said, adding it is not a sin to feed dogs.

Insisting that he has no idea about why they are doing it, Bilal said he is doing nothing illegal. “But some of the residents shave done many illegal things by arbitrarily extending the constructions of their flats,” Bilal said. The colony belongs to Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and it has a set pattern for buildings. The four level buildings have been converted illegally into six-floor buildings by the residents. “When they are talking about the demolition of hose they are referring to the DDA action earlier in the colony and it is tragically attributed to us,” he said, “And not the DDA.”

Bilal, who is basically a resident of Hawal in Srinagar, said the Friday attack was led by women as men with sticks and rods were in the second line. “Women started beating us and then males joined,” Bilal said. “This attack was a serious one and it seemed they had come to kill us.” He said though the police have arrested four persons, some of the key attackers are still roaming free. “There are two persons who are still going from door to door and mobilising people and trying to give it a communal colour,” Bilal said. “I do not know why police is not acting against them.”

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