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Road rage or hate crime? Journalist withdraws complaint after claiming he was attacked for being a Kashmiri

Pune-based Kashmiri journalist Jibraan Nazir had filed a complaint that he was ‘attacked’ by local youths ‘for being a Kashmiri’. However, after the police nabbed the accused, one Dattaray Lahote and one Azharuddin Shaikh, Nazir withdrew the complaint claiming that he does not believe the ‘attack’ on him was an organised one.

However, the ‘attack’ on Nazir started off as a road rage, according to reports. According to reports, Nazir was riding a bike and stopped at a red signal when two youths continuously honked at Nazir. This started an argument. As per Nazir, the duo allegedly started shouting at him because the numberplate of his bike bore a Himachal Pradesh registration number. Enraged, when he shouted back that he was not from Himachal, but from Jammu and Kashmir, the duo allegedly thrashed him and said that they will ‘send him back to Kashmir’.

As per the Indian Express report, Nazir withdrew his complaint after they apologised and promised to get his vehicle repaired. However, despite the alleged hate crime which left him with a minor fracture, Nazir chose not to pursue this further.

Read also: JNU ‘student’ who was accused of stealing funds in Kathua case found spreading rumours about Kashmiri girls trapped in Uttarakhand

As per a report in Newslaundry, the assailants also referred to him as a terrorist. “While hitting him they were repeatedly asking him to go back to Kashmir. They kept calling him a terrorist. When he made it known that he was a journalist, one of them snatched away his press card and told him to go back to his home in Kashmir and do journalism over there,” Newslaundry cites a ‘source’ close to Nazir. In fact, the Newslaundry report, describing the attack says that over and above the two, five-six bystanders had also joined in and punched him.

Why, then, has Nazir withdrawn the complaint when what happened to him is a clear case of hate crime? Was it really a hate crime as described by Nazir or it was just a road rage incident which escalated and was portrayed as a hate crime.

Ten days back a ghastly terror attack on CRPF convoy in Pulwama, Kashmir, claimed lives of over 40 soldiers. Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad took responsibility of the attack. Even as the nation mourned the loss, a few Kashmiris and the ‘liberal intellegensia’ were found celebrating the terror attack. As the nation was enraged, a parallel narrative was being built to shift the focus from the terror attack and its celebration to divert attention by claiming that the Kashmiris are under attack. Since most of the cases, these ‘attacks’ on Kashmiris have turned out to be rumours, one wonders why would Nazir, then, not take the case to its logical end, considering what allegedly happened to him fits the textbook case of hate crime, if he has not hyped it up.

Pune Police has taken suo motu cognisance and lodged an offence in the case. An offence under sections 279 (rash driving), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) of IPC will be lodged against Dattaray and Azharuddin.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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