Kashmiri shawl seller in Bengal narrates horrific, communal assault

Kashmiri shawl seller in Bengal narrates horrific, communal assault
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BUDGAM: In yet another case of violence against Kashmiris in the wake of the Pulwama attack which claimed life of 49 CRPF troops, a shawl seller — Javaid Ahmad Khan — was allegedly thrashed by a mob in West Bengal on Tuesday.
Hailing from Astan Mohalla Soibug in central Kashmir’s Budgam district, Khan was sitting in his rented accomodation in Teherpur area of West Bengal, when an abusive mob dragged him out of the room and thrashed him mercilessly.
Talking to Kashmir Reader, Javaid said that scores of shawl traders who are settled in West Bengal had never faced these kind of challenges in their lives. “It is the first such incident,” he said. “I was cooking meals for dinner when a violent mob barged inside my rented room at around 8:45 pm and without asking anything dragged me down along the concrete cemented ladder,” Khan said.
He added,”They continued to abuse and thrash me and were repeatedly asking me to chant ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Pakistan Murdabad’.”
The mob, he added, thrashed him ruthlessly for almost half an hour and also captured the assault in a graphic video which was later posted on social media by unknown persons.
“By then, blood had started oozing out from my nose and mouth and I was screaming with pain,” Khan said.
“I begged them to leave me but they were adamany and continued to thrash me till I lost consciousness,” Khan added.
“It can be heard in the video how the mob abused me and forced me to shout ‘Pakistan Murdabad’ and ‘Vande Mataram’,” he said, adding that his younger brother Mehraj ud Din Khan who lives with him was also thrashed.
“When they thought we were almost dead, they left us on God’s mercy and fled from the spot,” he said.
After some time police reached the spot, Khan said, and took him and his brother to a police post located in close vicinity in Teharpur. “They kept us there till 2:30 am on empty stomachs and then asked us to stay at some safer place away from the rented accomodation.”
Khan said after leavong the police station he and his brother somehow managed to reach Krishna Nagar — thirty kilometers away — “where our fellows Kashmiris live”.
“Now we are living with them and are confined to the four walls,” he said.
Khan, like scores of other Soibugh residents, has been engaged in shawl trading in West Bengal for past many years. “He has been visiting Kolkata for past ten years,” his brother said.
Khan in a sobbing voice said, “We have been working here since decades. How can we leave our buisiness midway and leave for home? This is impossible for us. I request the police of West Bengal and the district administration of Budgam to provide us safety so that we can reach back to our shops to evacuate the shawls and collect money from customers.”
Khan said he had faith in the local police and district administration of Budgam that they would provide support.
Senior Superintendent of Police Nadia district of West Bengal, Rupash Kumar, while talking to Kashmir Reader said that Khan was out of danger now.
“We have shifted him to a safer location in Krishna Nagar. He is absolutely fit and fine,” said Kumar, adding that police have taken cognisance of the incident. “We are looking for the attackers,” he said.