Indians from across the country have taken to social media to offer shelter to people from Indian-administered Kashmir after a suicide bomber killed more than 40 paramilitary police in the north India state.
The attack took place on the Srinagar-Jammu highway about 20km (12 miles) from the main city in Srinagar.
A Pakistan-based group said a member in Kashmir carried out the attack but some people directed their anger at innocent Kashmiris living and working across India.
There have been cases of Kashmiri students and businessmen being targeted across the country, with reports of some Indian students even demanding the expulsion of their Kashmiri peers from universities.
In response, Indian social media has been flooded by locals using the hashtags #UnHateNow and #SafeHaven to open up their “homes and hearts” to Kashmiris being targeted.
Want to tell any Kashmiri student out there, if you are being targeted in any manner, feel free to call/DM me. My home and heart is open to you as are that of thousands of right thinking Indians.Let’s fight forces of violence together: you don’t have to bear the cross of terror.
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) February 16, 2019
#unHateNOW We the students from across universities have come together to offer #SafeHaven to Kashmiris needing accommodation, or just feeling insecure in the face of organised violence, threats. Especially in Bihar, UP, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Uttarakhand. @Shehla_Rashid
— Kawalpreet Kaur (@kawalpreetdu) February 16, 2019
Muslims seek refuge in Mosques
A resident of occupied Kashmir, Zahid Salam Wani, said: “I am from Budgam district and pursue my studies in Kolkata. Due to the prevailing situation, I came to Jammu by train and plan to go to Srinagar tomorrow. I will be staying here at Bathindi”.
The committee members Muhammad Ashraf, Jamaat Ali and Majid Ahmed Tak asked people from all communities to come to Bathindi if they feel unsafe elsewhere.
Meanwhile, in Khatika Talab’s Jamia Masjid around 1,000-1,500 people have taken refuge.
According to Salman Salaria, a local resident, “We have made all arrangements here, from food to bedding.”
The locals provided gas cylinders, ration as well as cash. Besides, the local hoteliers provided utensils to cook food.
In Gujjar Nagar, around 1,000-1,500 people have taken refuge.
Inside India, after various reports of Kashmiris including students, traders and employees were threatened to leave the place.
A 42-year-old cardiologist from Srinagar, who has spent the last 22 years working in Kolkata, has been asked by a group of people to leave the city.