THE SUPREME Court on Friday directed the chief secretaries and police chiefs of all states and Union Territories to take “prompt action” to prevent incidents of “assault, threat, social boycott and such other egregious acts” against Kashmiris, including students, and other minorities in the wake of the Pulwama attack on February 14.
The bench also issued notices to the Centre and 10 states — Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Meghalaya, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Punjab and Maharashtra — and sought their reply. These are the states that have reported incidents of threat and violence against Kashmiris in the last one week. Among J&K students targeted are PM scholarship recipients
Watch: Pulwama terror attack: Kashmiris attacked in several parts of India
“The chief secretaries, directors general of police of all the states and Union Territories including the commissioner of police, Delhi, are directed to take prompt and necessary action to prevent incidents of assault, threat, social boycott and such other egregious acts against the Kashmiris, including students enrolled with the institutions in the respondent states and union territories, and other minorities in the wake of the terrorist attack dated 14.2.2019,” said a bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna.
The court was hearing a petition filed by advocate Tariq Adeeb, seeking its intervention in the matter. Appearing for the petitioner, senior advocate Colin Gonsalves sought an order like in the mob lynching cases last year, when the court had ordered appointment of nodal officers. “I want an order similar to the lynching cases,” Gonsalves said, adding that the most senior officer in the state could act as the nodal officer. He also wanted the officer’s number to be put in public domain.
Appearing for the Centre, Attorney General K K Venugopal said the problem of Kashmiri students being targeted was not new and the government had taken steps to ensure their security. He said nodal officers had been appointed in all the states and union territories and their names and numbers were in public domain. The list was updated in 2018 and advisories have been issued from time to time, he said. The AG also submitted the list of nodal officers to the bench.
The home ministry has been taking steps to ensure the security of Kashmiri students residing outside the state, and grievances can be reported on a specific number, he said.
Taking note of the AG’s submission, the court said: “We are of the view that the nodal officers (in addition to the nodal officers as may have already been appointed by the State of Jammu and Kashmir) as per the list placed by the learned Attorney General before this Court… would take necessary steps to prevent acts of violence, discrimination and other coercive acts against Kashmiris (including students enrolled with the institutions in the respondent states and union territories) and other minorities in the wake of the terrorist attack…”
The court reproduced the list of nodal officers in its order and said details like their names, addresses, telephone numbers and email ids “will be given wide publicity by the Ministry of Home Affairs in all the states, so that any act of assault, threat, intimidation, social boycott etc. can be brought to the attention of the nodal officers for prompt and timely action”. The bench said it will hear the matter next on February 27, when “further orders will follow”.