This Pandit Helped Stranded Kashmiri Muslims After Pulwama. Cue Tears And Trolls

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Sagrika Kissu.

The aftermath of the Pulwama attacks has prompted a long-pending conversation between some young Kashmiris on both sides of the Hindu-Muslim divide.

Betwa Sharma

NEW DELHI — Sagrika Kissu, a 26-year-old journalist was on her way to celebrate Shivaratri with her parents and grandparents in Jammu city, where they have lived since Kashmiri Hindus, most of them Pandits, fled Kashmir in 1989-1990.

Shivaratri is one day when politics takes a backseat and a feeling of bonhomie descends on her family. They decorate earthen pots with images of Hindu gods and eat walnuts soaked in water.

These, however, are troubled times. With the exception of a few arguments over the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s performance, the house was quiet.

“We did not really talk to each other,” she said. “They were perturbed about the Facebook messages abusing me for helping Kashmiri Muslims. They did not know how to react.”

Last month, Kissu, a reporter with NewsClick, went out of her way to help Kashmiri Muslims caught in the backlash after the deadly attack in Pulwama on 14 February. A 19-year-old Kashmiri rammed a vehicle filled with explosives into a convoy of security personnel, killing 40 soldiers. On 7 March, three weeks after the Pulwama attack, Kashmiri dry fruit sellers werebeaten up in Lucknow.

What happened to Kashmiri Pandits was horrible, but what is happening to Kashmir Muslims is also horrible.

As students were landing in Delhi from states like Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and Haryana, Kissu found safe places for them to stay. Kissu helped 18 students who had left the cities of Ambala, Dehradun, and Jaipur. When she was not arranging lodging and transport for the students, Kissu spent time with them.

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