Majid Kapra

Pulwama incident being given communal colour for upcoming elections: KCCI

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Kashmiri drivers protest against torching of their vehicles in Jammu

Srinagar, Feb 15: Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Friday said that some “fringe elements” go all-out to create regional divide by fomenting violence in the state with an eye on upcoming elections.

The business body while condemning the acts of arson which left over a dozen people injured and scores of vehicles damaged in Jammu city appealed people to maintain peace so that the communal elements hell-bent on creating divide are failed in their “evil designs”.

“We condemn the Pulwama incident. But some communal elements want to paint the incident with communal color for their own political interests ahead of upcoming elections. We appeal people to maintain calm so that elements hell-bent upon creating divide are failed in their evil designs,” JCCI president Sheikh Ashiq said in a press conference here.

He said painting any act of violence with communal color depicts communal mindset of those elements who try to take advantage of Pulwama attack by pitting one community against the other for their political interests.

KCCI president also appealed his counterparts in Jammu to play their role in maintaining communal and regional harmony in the state.

“I also called JCCI president today and asked him to take every community on board to end violence in Jammu. I request everyone not to disturb peace. Violence leads to destruction always, hence maintaining calm is the need of the hour,” he added.

He also advocated meaningful dialogue between all stakeholders to end the cycle of violence in Jammu and Kashmir.

Sheikh Ashiq said that a team of KCCI will be heading to Jammu to enquire about the safety of stranded Kashmiri people and those who are there for business or employment purposes.

Meanwhile a group of Kashmiri drivers, who ferry passengers between Srinagar and Jammu, this evening held protest at Press Enclave against torching of vehicles and harassment of Kashmiris in Jammu city.

The protesting drivers alleged that agitated mobs set many vehicles on fire and beat up many Kashmiris.

“We appeal the government to ensure early return of stranded Kashmir-bound passengers to valley. The agitating mobs not only set many of our vehicles on fire but also thrashed Kashmiri people without any provocation,” said Imtiyaz Ahmad, a protester.

The Kashmiri drivers said that they are always targeted whenever situation turns ugly in and outside Kashmir.

The protesting drivers said that scores of Jammu drivers are here in Kashmir also “but no one has touched them, we even went to them and offered our help.”

“…but on the other hand we are always assaulted,” they rued.

The drivers raised slogans against the administration and accused them of doing nothing to safeguard Kashmiri drivers in Jammu.

“Many of our vehicles were torched and countless vandalized, but still no one is taking any concrete step in safeguarding our life and property,” one of the drivers who didn’t give his name, said.

The protesting drivers said that some individuals from Sikh community helped the drivers otherwise the losses could have been much more.

Protesters appealed the government to take immediate steps to stop violence against Kashmiri people in Jammu.

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