From free legal services to hotel lodging and education, from free medical help to discount on clothes for Sikhs — the Valley has decided to show its gratitude to the community for the help rendered by volunteers of Khalsa Aid, an international not-for-profit relief organisation, and some gurdwaras in Mohali to the Kashmiri students returning home following the Pulwama terror attack.
Peerzada Hussain, owner of a coaching centre at Anantnag in south Kashmir, said he was inspired by this outpouring of generosity to provide free coaching classes to the students from Sikh community. “Everyone is happy here after what they did in Mohali or Jammu. We will never forget this,” said Hussain, adding they are minority in Kashmir. “We must make them feel that they are part of us.”
Kashmiris responded to this gesture by flooding the social media with offers for the Sikhs and other minority communities in the Valley. Dr Shakeel Ahmad, who runs a clinic at Hyderpora in Srinagar, said this outpouring of help shows that we should not view each other through the prism of religion. ‘’This community demonstrated this quality. They provided shelter to young Kashmiris who were being harassed for no reason,” he said, adding that issues cannot be resolved by threatening innocents.
Echoing his views, Majeed Mir, who runs a shop in Sopore town of Baramulla district, offered 30 per cent discount on all cloth items to the members of the Sikh community till April. “Humanity is above religion. Innocent students were fleeing in fear but these people helped them and ensured their safety.”
Advocate Hilal Ahmad Dar from Srinagar, who has decided to provide free legal assistance to minority communities in the Valley, said he searched the net and found that the Khalsa Aid was providing humanitarian assistance to needy people in almost 45 countries. ‘’They have set an example of true brotherhood. I introspected about how I could help them and since I am a lawyer, I decided to provide free legal assistance,” said Hilal.
Mushtaq Ayub, owner of Srinagar-based Al-Azizia hotel, has pledged free accommodation to any Sikh visiting his hotel. He said, “I welcome the bravehearts to my hotel anytime. They can come and stay here without any charges.”
Hundreds of Kashmiri students took shelter in Mohali after they were targeted by violent mobs and told to leave their colleges and homes in Dehradun and other parts of the country.
Gurdwara Shaheedan at Sohana in Mohali was the first to open its doors to the fleeing students who arrived at a shelter home arranged by Jammu and Kashmir Students’ Organisation last week. Later, volunteers of the Khalsa Aid arranged vehicles and escorted them to safety.