Rajnath Singh
Rajnath SinghPress Information Bureau

The Centre on Friday, April 21, asked all states to protect people from Kashmir after incidents of violence and intimidation were reported against them. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh himself appealed to all states to "ensure safety of all Kashmiris anywhere in country as they are also equal citizens of India."

On Thursday, April 20, hoardings asking "stone-pelting Kashmiris" to leave Uttar Pradesh were seen in Meerut in the state while a group of Kashmiri students were allegedly called terrorists and thrashed by local people in Rajasthan.

Singh said on Friday that "states have been told to take strong action against people who misbehave with Kashmiris." Rajasthan Chief Minister vasundhara Raje on Friday tweeted saying the state police have "apprehended the culprits." 

A helpline number has also been released for the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh Police has filed a case against the leader of the Uttar Pradesh Nav Nirman Sena on charges of inciting communal disharmony. The billboards in Meerut have also been pulled down.

Uttar Pradesh Nav Nirman Sena is a fringe right-wing outfit that put up billboards in Meerut asking Kashmiris to leave the state. "Boycott those Kashmiris who pelt stones at Indian Army. Kashmiris leave UP or...." a hoarding, which carried the name of the outfit's chief Amit Jani, warned. The police have registered a case against Jani. 

Also a day before the hoardings were put up in Meerut, a group of Kashmiri students from Rajasthan's Mewar University were allegedly called terrorists and thrashed by some local people. According to Hindustan Times, the locals were angry over soldiers of the Indian Army being targeted by stown-pelters in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. No one was seriously injured in the incident. The police then filed an FIR against a couple of unidentified persons for causing hurt.

"Six of us were assaulted in three separate attacks that took place at the same time in the market. The attacks seemed coordinated... They hurled abuses, called us terrorists and said we throw stones at the army. They told us to go back to Kashmir and threatened that they won't let us study here," Bahar Ahmed Giri, a student of pharmacy, was quoted by HT as saying.

The students were also upset with the university authorities for not being able to protect them. They demanded arrest of the culprits. 

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