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2 Kashmiri vendors beaten up in Lucknow; 4 arrested

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Lucknow, Mar 07: A group of men thrashed two Kashmiri roadside vendors in Uttar Pradesh's capital Lucknow on Wednesday, in a latest attack against Kashmiris post-Pulwama terror attack.

2 Kashmiri vendors beaten up in Lucknow; 1 arrested

The incident took place Wednesday evening amid the nationwide backlash on Kashmiris following the February 14 terror attack in Pulwama.

In a video shot by one of the accused, the men clad in saffron shirts were seen with sticks in their hands and thrashing the vendors. The men were heard saying that they were assaulting the vendors because they were from Kashmir.

Several local residents of Lucknow intervened and asked the men to stop further assault of the two vendors.

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Four have been arrested by Lucknow police after two Kashmiri dry fruit sellers were attacked in Lucknow. All the arrested persons are members of the Vishwa Hindu Dal.

"The Kashmiri youths were selling dry fruits on Daliganj bridge and a group of men beat them up, terming them as stone pelters," Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Kalanidhi Naithani told repoters here Thursday.

He said after an "alert citizen" made the video, the matter came to light after which police teams swung into action and arrested the main accused, Bajrang Sonkar, who has more than a dozen criminal cases including that of murder, loot, theft and arms act pending against him. On his tip off, three others -- Himanshu Garg, Aniruddh and Amar Kumar -- were also arrested on Thursday, the SSP said.

About the victims, he said they were Abdul and Afzal of Kulgam, Jammu and Kashmir, who come here during winters to sell dry fruits.

An FIR was lodged in this connection at Hasangaj police station under various sections of the IPC, including 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 307 (attempt to murder), and Criminal Law Amendment Act. Sonkar claims to be the president of the Vishwa Hindu Dal.

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah took to Twitter to condemn the incident and wrote, "Dear PM @narendramodi Sahib, this is what you had spoken against & yet it continues unabated. This is the state governed by your handpicked Chief Minister. Can we expect action in this case or do we file your concern & assurances as a jumla, meant to placate but nothing more? (sic)".

"Nothing will do more damage to the idea of India in J&K than videos like these. Keep thrashing Kashmiris like this on the streets at the hands of RSS/Bajrang Dal goons & then try to sell the idea of "atoot ang", it simply wont fly (sic)," he further tweeted.

"Kashmiris are being hounded & punished": Mehbooba Mufti

"Kashmiris are being hounded & punished," said Mehbooba Mufti over the attack on Kashmiri dry fruit sellers in Lucknow.

"They have no fear & in fact uploaded the video on SM. GoIs conspicuous silence is actually a political tactic to encourage such elements & communalise the atmosphere until polls," she said in the tweet.

Post Pulwama terror attacks, several Kashmiri's residing in other parts of the country were targeted by several people from across the country. PM Narendra Modi also came in the support of Kashmiris and urged the people across India to not target them. He said that the fight is for Kashmir and not against Kashmiris.

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