Home Politics Hate attack feared as Kashmiri family ‘assaulted by neighbours’ in south Delhi

Hate attack feared as Kashmiri family ‘assaulted by neighbours’ in south Delhi

The mob that attacked Kashmiri students in Maharani Bagh, Delhi
The mob that attacked Kashmiri students in Maharani Bagh, Delhi, Thursday

According to the complainants, the three sisters were out for a stroll at night in their locality, Siddharth Extension, in Maharani Bagh when ‘a mob of around 30-35 people’ charged at them.

New Delhi: Police are investigating an alleged hate attack on a Kashmiri family by neighbours in south Delhi.

A video purportedly showing a mob armed with hockey sticks attacking four siblings of the Muzaffar family, three sisters and their brother, Thursday has since gone viral. One of the girls was also allegedly molested.

According to the complainants, the three sisters were out for a stroll at night in their locality, Siddharth Extension, in Maharani Bagh when “a mob of around 30-35 people” charged at them. The assailants were allegedly chanting slogans about the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley in the late 1980s-early 1990s.

“We have been living on rent in this area for 17 years,” one of the Muzaffar sisters, a bank employee, told ThePrint.

“My sisters and I went for a stroll around 11 pm, and saw the mob. I recognised the president of the flat occupant association S.N. Pandey who was directing the mob towards us,” she added. “My brother came running to defend us, but they did not stop. They hit us with hockey sticks and iron rods, groped me, and hurled the choicest of abuses at us,” she alleged.

The brother, Bilal Hussain, alleged this was not the first attack on the family. “They tried to run over my father once, after which we sent him to Kashmir,” he said. “Thursday, they wanted to kill us – they shouted ‘Kashmiris have thrown out Kashmiri Pandits, now we will throw you out. We will kill Kashmiri terrorists today’.”

Apart from Pandey, the family has also identified neighbour Nalin Tripathi and his wife, and another man, Virender Singh, among their assailants. Pandey has refuted allegations of his involvement in the attack.

“We have filed an FIR on the complaint of the girl. We are investigating the matter,” deputy commissioner of police (south) Chinmoy Biswas told ThePrint. The accused have been booked under the IPC sections pertaining to molestation, insulting a woman’s modesty, wrongful restraint, voluntarily causing hurt, and criminal intimidation. However, police described the episode as a “neighbourhood dispute”.

Members of the flat occupant association have reportedly long viewed the family with suspicion. On 2 April this year, they wrote to Prime Minister Modi, seeking his intervention before “there is a breach of the law-and-order situation in our colony”.

They accused the four siblings and a fifth brother, Salman, as well as a friend identified as Ashish, of being involved in illegal activities, such as “harbouring terrorists”.

“They have taken five flats on rent and the residents have noticed the movement of unknown and suspicious people in the colony at night,” they wrote in the letter, a copy of which is with ThePrint.

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