Pulwama Aftermath: Sikhs provide protection to Kashmiris caught in ‘revenge’ attacks

Pulwama Aftermath: Sikhs provide protection to Kashmiris caught in ‘revenge’ attacks

In the aftermath of the February 14 suicide bombing that killed over 40 paramilitary troopers in India-administered Kashmir, 18-year-old Kashmiri student Shadab Ahmad and his friends were among dozens of Kashmiris targeted by mobs across India.

The deadliest attack on Indian security forces immediately triggered revenge attacks against Kashmiris across India. Videos of mob attacks went viral on social media, prompting condemnation by the Indian National Human Rights Commission and Amnesty International, who asked India to ensure the safety of common Kashmiris.

Shadab, a second-year engineering student, while narrating his ordeal to the Al Jazeera said that “There were around seven of us Kashmiris. Another Kashmiri friend called us and asked us to come to Mohali in Punjab. He said it was relatively safe there. We boarded a cab and got there.”

At Mohali, Shadab and his friends were greeted with a pleasant surprise. They were welcomed by volunteers from the Sikh community, who fed them, gave them shelter in “gurudwara” and arranged transport for them to go back to their homes.

Shadab stated that “The Sikh volunteers gave us food and accommodation and arranged 13 vehicles for more than 100 of us to go home together.” Like Shadab, hundreds of students fled their colleges in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and other Indian states and have returned to their homes in Kashmir.

A UK-based non-profit organisation, Khalsa Aid, which helped to flee Kashmiri students by putting them up in temples and providing them food and accommodation. Amarpreet Singh, the director of Khalsa Aid in while speaking to Al Jazeera said: “Our religion teaches us humanity.”

Mr Singh further added that “Due to some bad elements who harassed these students, they should not feel alienated and they should believe that humanity is still alive. These young people are our future.”

At least 300 Kashmiri Muslim students have safely returned to their homes after the mob attacks by the Khalsa Aid.