Goons in saffron kurtas thrash Kashmiri vendors, video goes viral

LUCKNOW: In yet another shameful incident, the saffron-clad rightwing Hindu activist roughing up Kashmiris in Lucknow. The video of the little known fringe group called Vishwa Hindu Dal assaulting the dry fruits sellers went viral.

According to reports, the attack took place on Wednesday when a group of saffron-robed youths came out of a car and pounced on the three Kashmiri men who were selling dry fruits at Daliganj Bridge.

The vendors were being abused, slapped and beaten up mercilessly and their wares were thrown around. The attackers called the victims “stone pelters” and asked them to produce their Aadhaar cards. The Kashmiris obliged but the attackers continued to beat them.

When a passerby intervened and questioned the assaulting goons why they were thrashing the two dry-fruit sellers, they say, “Because they are Kashmiris. They are the ones pelting stones in Kashmir.”

Cry of one of the Kashmiri men being beaten with sticks is also heard in the video.

Now, one of the attackers, Bajrang Sonkar, who was arrested, is affiliated to the Vishwa Hindu Dal and has 12 criminal cases, including a murder case registered against him including one of murder, Senior Superintendent of Police Kalanidhi Naithani said.

Two of the injured vendors went away before the police arrived there but one Kashmiri, identified as Afzal, was taken to the police station. Afzal was questioned for over an hour before an acquaintance vouched for him.

No FIRs were registered against the attackers initially.

Based on the video posted online by the goons, Police have filed an FIR. The attackers were initially booked under the Indian Penal Code and now non-bailable offences have also been included, Naithani said.

Following the Pulwama terror attack in February which killed more than 40 CRPF personnel, Kashmiris students and traders living outside the state, across the country have been on the receiving end of the backlash.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah condemned the brutality.

“Nothing will do more damage to the idea of India in Jammu and Kashmir than videos like these,” he said in a series of tweets along with the video post. “Keep thrashing Kashmiris like this on the streets at the hands of RSS/Bajrang Dal goons and then try to sell the idea of ‘atoot ang’ (unbreakable part), it simply won’t fly.”

He called upon Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to punish “those guilty of this assault”. Singh represents Lucknow in the Lok Sabha.

With agency inputs