Lynch mobs enflamed by right-wing ultra-nationalist rhetoric are committing hate crimes against Kashmiris and tensions between India and Pakistan are on the rise.
After the Pulwama attack which killed at least 44 Indian paramilitary personnel in the Indian occupied Kashmir, hate crimes against the occupied population are being reported from all over the country, accompanied by political tensions rising between the neighboring countries of India and Pakistan.
A car bomb attacked a security convoy Thursday in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district. The attack, claimed by Pakistan-based religious extremist group Jaish-e-Mohammad and carried out by a 20-year-old Kashmiri man, was the worst in decades of insurgency in the occupied territory.
Hate Crimes against Kashmiris:
Violence and tension escalated after the attack. Mobs of Hindu Indians reflecting right-wing idealogies have been attacking Kashmiris residing or studying in other parts of India because they are being associated with “terrorists” due to their demand for freedom from India.
Aqib Ahmad, a Kashmiri student in the state of Uttarakhand’s capital Dehradun, said the owner of the house he was staying in asked him to move out for fear of an attack on his property. Two other students in Dehradun said they have also been asked to vacate their rooms.
"Where are we supposed to go?" Waseem Akram asked Reuters.
The Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) state administration late Sunday advised students from the state to reach out to liaison officers across six regions of the country in case of any problems. It said 104 students who were staying in private accommodations in the northern state of Haryana’s district of Ambala had been moved to university hostels guarded by police.
In the eastern state of Bihar, Kashmiri traders were attacked and asked to vacate the state within 24 hours or they would be killed.
“Kindly help as I’m being threatened, perhaps by VHP workers since yesterday & they are constantly telling me to leave Kolkata and go to Pakistan, ‘Or we will kill you and family‘. I’m living here with 2 daughters and my wife for 6 years. I’m very afraid and worried for them,” was an SOS message sent by a Kashmiri doctor residing in the eastern state of West Bengal who was finally provided security by a civil society movement against hate crimes.
On Friday, around 60 vehicles with Kashmiri plates were damaged.
A group of around 20 female Kashmiri students had to lock themselves up in their university accommodation room in Dehradun after a mob of angry men surrounded their rooms with death and rape threats. After pressuring the police, they finally intervened hours later and took the women students to safety.
Incidents like a Kashmiri dean getting sacked from an institution to people baying for Kashmiri blood are being circulated in local media.
One young Kashmiri girl of 17 was missing since Friday after the area she was residing in witnessed an array of violence.
Thousands of people, including militants and civilians, have died since the insurgency began in the late 1980s. Political leaders from Kashmir appealed to the government to ensure the security of Kashmiris across India, while many progressives have opened their homes to Kashmiris in the face of danger and violence.
India-Pakistan Political and Economic Tension:
India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Friday that the government will take all possible diplomatic steps to ensure the "complete isolation" of Pakistan. This would include India removing most favored nation privileges given to Pakistan under World Trade Organization rules, he said.
On Saturday, India raised the customs duty to 200 percent on all goods imported from Pakistan which includes fresh fruits, cement, petroleum, and mineral ore.
Pakistan exported goods worth US$488.5 million to India in 2017-18.
Pakistan recalled its ambassador in New Delhi for consultation, reported the country’s foreign office spokesman Monday.
"We have called back our High Commissioner in India for consultations. He left New Delhi this morning," Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said on Twitter.
India recalled its ambassador last week.
Apart from the political and economic tensions, Indian artists are banning Pakistani artists and shows from India.
More deaths in Kashmir:
After the Pulwama attack, the South Kashmir district is witnessing a continuous gun battle between Indian occupation forces and pro-freedom Kashmiri fighters.
At least seven people including two fighters and four Indian forces have been killed in the fight by Monday.
"In the encounter, two militants and four army soldiers have been killed. The operation is still in progress," an Indian army official informed Al Jazeera.
A local civilian was also killed after getting caught in crossfire Monday.
"Several houses have been blasted. Many young people who were protesting have been arrested. There is heavy security and we are forced inside our homes," said 50-year-old Abdul Hamid, a resident of the Pinglan village of Pulwama where the battle is continuing.