A 24-year-old journalist from Jammu and Kashmir was beaten up in Maharashtra’s Pune. The incident is yet another amid reports of assault on Kashmiris after the Pulwama terror attack.
The local police, who earlier dubbed it as an incident of road rage, registered a case against two suspected attackers on Friday evening and arrested one of them.
The journalist was allegedly thrashed by the two men on Thursday night during a fight at a traffic signal.
Jibran Nazir, who works with a newspaper in Pune, said the men told him that they would “send him back to Kashmir”.
Nazir, however, stated that it was not an “organised” attack.
The attackers later apologised to him at the police station, he said.
A police official said it was an incident of road rage and not linked with the Pulwama attack.
Nazir said he was attacked on Pune’s Tilak Road around 10.45 pm when he was returning home on a motorbike. As he stopped at a traffic signal, two men on a motorbike behind him started honking, asking him to move, which led to a fight.
Noticing that his motorbike had a Himachal Pradesh (HP) registration number, the two said they would send him off to Himachal Pradesh.
When Nazir corrected them, saying he was a journalist from Jammu and Kashmir, the two beat him up, saying “we will send you back to Kashmir, do your journalism there,” he claimed.
They snatched his mobile phone, damaged his bike and fled, he said.
Nazir said he decided not to pursue the matter further and withdrew his police complaint.
Later on Friday evening, the Pune Police registered a case, on their own, against Azharuddin Shaikh, 32, and Dattatray Lavate, 35, the two suspects.
While Azharuddin Shaikh was arrested, the police were in the process of arresting Dattatray Lavate, he said.
The incident came a day after students from Kashmir studying in a college in Yavatmal in Maharashtra were attacked, allegedly by members of the Yuva Sena, the youth wing of the Shiv Sena.
The students were also forced them to raise slogans like “Vande Mataram”, “Hindustan Zindabad” and “Bharatmata ki Jai”.
The Aditya Thackeray-led youth wing of the Shiv Sena reacted by expelling the office-bears involved in the assault which created a political furore.
Simultaneously, Aditya Thackeray also sought to distance himself from the assault with a stern statement and a warning of strict action against them.
The attack on the journalist comes on a day when the Supreme Court asked the Centre and 10 states to ensure the safety of Kashmiris against violence and social boycott in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack.
The top court directed the Chief Secretaries and police chiefs of states and Union Territories to take prompt action to prevent threats, assaults, intimidation and boycott of Kashmiris, especially students, after the February 14 terror attack.
There has been a sudden rise in the incidents of crimes against Kashmiris after the Pulwama attack that killed over 44 CRPF jawans.
(With agency inputs)