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Jammu & Kashmir

Time for return gift: Kashmiris open heart for Sikhs

February 22, 2019 05:21 AM

courTESY  HT FEB 22

Time for return gift: Kashmiris open heart for Sikhs
SRINAGAR: It’s raining love for Sikhs in Kashmir. The locals are reciprocating the community’s heartwarming gesture of helping Valley students and businessmen who came under attack in many parts of the country after the Pulwama terror strike.

In the past many days, posts and photographs of Sikh youths and voluntary organisations helping Kashmiri students in Jammu, Punjab, Haryana and Uttarakhand have been doing the rounds on social media.

Some students, who reached the Valley, also told their relatives and friends how Sikhs came to their rescue when things turned hostile for them. “The Sikhs guarded the hostels during night when they were threatened by mob and offered free accommodation, food and transportation,” they said.

As a goodwill gesture, the locals are now reaching out to the Sikh community by offering free admission, discount at shops, free tours and stay in hotels. Some advocates have even offered not to charge any money for legal consultations. At present, more than 80,000 Sikhs live in the Valley.

“If any Sikh brother needs legal aid, I will provide him free assistance till disposal of the case,’’ wrote advocate Hilal Ahmad Dar in a social media post. Another message, posted by Usmania Coaching Centre, Srinagar, offered free coaching to Class 10, 11, and 12 Sikh students. In another post, the owner of a hotel in the city said: “If any Sikh brother needs accommodation in Srinagar he will get it free.’’

In a Facebook post, Mateen Banday from Handwara in Kupwara said: “My sale and service centre near old fire service station, Handwara, will be giving 15% discount to Sikhs on generator sets, invertors and power spray motors.’’

The owner of a shop at Bijbhera town in south Kashmir has promised free school uniform to Sikh students.

Shaheen Ahmad Lone, who owns a private school in north Kashmir’s Kanispora area where around 500 Sikh families live, has offered free admission and free education to Sikh students from nursery to Class 10.

Nirmal Singh, a retired engineer and now a social worker, said the gesture of so many Kashmiri Muslims in offering free and concessional services to the Sikh community was appreciable. “These kind deeds will deepen our bonds,’’ he added.


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