Published: 17th February 2019
Meet the youngsters who are helping Kashmiri students stay safe from Pulwama revenge attacks
After multiple incidents of mob violence against Kashmiri students, these people from Delhi have opened the doors of their houses to help the former
Mandeep Punia does not know exactly how many times his phone rang since Saturday night. But eight of them were desperate cries for help, by Kashmiri students stranded in different parts of the National Capital Region, threatened by the right wing, having no place to go. Mandeep and his friends were quick to ensure that the students were taken to a safe and secure space.
Following the news about how Kashmiris were beaten up and harassed in different parts of the country, post the Pulawama incident, Mandeep, a freelance journalist, along with a few like-minded individuals formed a group called Karwan e Mohabbat, to help out the Kashmiris in different parts of the country including Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Patna, Jaipur and Pune. "We are ready to offer them a safe place to stay and food to eat. Also, if they want to go home, we have decided to crowdfund and help them out with the airfare," says Mandeep.
Mandeep tells us that former IAS officer and activist Harsh Mander was among the first to propose the idea of rehabilitation of the stranded Kashmiris. "I was writing an opinion piece on the attack on Kashmiris in different parts of the country and really wanted to help them out. That was when I contacted Harsh Mander. He reminded us of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, where a lot of good-hearted people opened their doors for the innocent Sikhs. So we thought, we should do the same for the innocent Kashmiris," he says.
He also shares a story about five IAS aspirants from Kashmir. "These students were living in an area called Mukherjee Nagar. They were threatened by right-wingers post the Pulwama incident. They were asked to say Bharat Mata ki Jai and Vande Mataram and vacate their houses in 24 hours," says Mandeep. Petrified, these youngsters called the Karwan e Mohabbat volunteers. "Now, they're staying in Harsh Mander's office. A lot of our journalist friends have also offered their houses to these people to stay," he adds.
But not all phone calls Mandeep received were cries for help. "I received a few internet calls from people saying that the deaths of their brothers will be avenged and threatened me for helping out Kashmiris. But these aren't strong enough to stop us from doing the right thing," he says.
A few students and teachers from Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University have also offered help to the distressed Kashmiris. Aeshal Nisar Dalal, DU's College Of Vocational Studies President, who hails from South Kashmir says that the doors of his house are also open for the ones in need of shelter. "The situation is fine in my college. But that isn't the case with the others. But I'm always ready to help the ones in need. In case anyone needs shelter, they're free to contact me," he says. JNU student Anirban Bhattacharya is also coordinating with the volunteers of Karwan e Mohabbat helping out people.
If you're in need of a safe space, please contact - Ashish +919313788542 or Mandeep +918683935263