Kashmiri traders staying in Ramgarh have alleged that they were forced to shut their shops and leave the area by local residents. As many as 60 Kashmiris fled, leaving their goods behind, early Tuesday. Moreover, some Kashmiris staying on rent in the area were asked by landlords to vacate their properties.
Nisar Ahmed Khan, who has a shop where he sells Kashmiri shawls and clothing, said that two days ago, unidentified men came and asked them to leave. “On February 15, some local residents, while taking out a candle-light march, taunted us. Then two days ago, after the incident in Mullana, they asked us to leave. We locked ourselves in a shop and downed the shutters. But some men threw stones at the shutters demanding that we leave,” said Ahmed.
He added,”It has been two days and we haven’t opened our shops since then. We are planning to leave now. In fact, all our goods are here and we need some time to wrap up. We are around 8 Kashmiri families still living in the area but we fear that we may be harmed. Others have already left, some left on Monday night, others in the wee hours of today.”
Ahmed said they had approached the local police, who asked them to meet the deputy commissioner. Police post-in-charge Singhraj told Chandigarh Newsline that there were no complaints of any violence in the area and the Kashmiris left on their own.
A local police post in-charge said that some people from the village came to them saying that they wanted to get their homes occupied by Kashmiris vacated. “But what can we do in that,” the policeman asked.
Asked about the matter, Deputy Commissioner Mukul Kumar said he will ensure the safety of Kashmiri families.
In the evening, policemen reached the area and jotted down contact numbers and names of landlords of Kashmiri families, assuring them of safety.
A house-owner who had rented out a room to a Kashmiri, said, “I had just suggested that the atmosphere at the moment is not good and it would be better if they vacate. I didn’t say anything else. It was just a suggestion from my side.”