Take steps to end attacks on Kashmiris: SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Chief Secretaries and Directors General of Police (DGPs) in states and union territories to take prompt action to prevent threats, assault, intimidation and boycott targeted at Kashmiris, especially students, in the wake of the February 14 Pulwama terror attack.

“The Chief Secretaries, the Directors General of Police of all the States and the Union Territories including the Commissioner of Police, Delhi are directed to take prompt and necessary action to prevent incidents of assault, threat, social boycott and such other egregious acts against the Kashmiris including students… and other minorities,” the court directed.

It also issued notice to the Central government and 11 states on a public interest litigation (PIL) by Tariq Adeeb that urged for attention to the incidents, including a call for boycott of Kashmiris by Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy, in the aftermath of the deadly attack on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy that left 40 troopers dead.

Besides the Centre, the states that were issued notice included Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Meghalaya, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand.

“So that all acts of assault, threats, intimidation and boycott of Kashmiris and other minorities can be brought to the notice of nodal officers and necessary steps must be taken,” a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said, asking the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to give wide publicity to advisories issued to the states.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told the court that the nodal officers have already been appointed in the states since 2016, and a list of these officers was furnished before the bench.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has already issued the advisories, Venugopal told the court, explaining that it could not issue directions as law and order is a state subject.

The court said the nodal officers must act and take steps to curb the incidents of violence, discrimination and other foreseeable acts against people from Jammu and Kashmir, particularly students, and those belonging to other minorities.

“We are of the view that the Nodal Officers (in addition to the Nodal Officers as may have already been appointed by the State of Jammu and Kashmir)… would take necessary steps to prevent acts of violence, discrimination and other coercive acts against Kashmiris (including students enrolled with the institutions in the respondent states and the union territories) and other minorities in the wake of the terrorist attack,” the court said in its order.

It further ordered that the details of the nodal officers including name, address, telephone numbers, and e-mail ID be given “wide publicity” by the Ministry of Home Affairs in all the states, so that “any act of assault, threat, intimidation and social boycott can be brought to the attention of the Nodal Officers for prompt and timely action”.

The court directed the listing of the matter on February 27 for further hearing and orders.