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Fear grips Kashmiris living in India after deadly suicide attack | News




Srinagar, India-administered Kashmir – Thursday’s suicide attack on Indian forces in India-administered Kashmir has triggered a wave of hate and revenge attacks against Kashmiris residing in different parts of mainland India.

Passions have been running high against Kashmiri Muslims since Thursday when 20-year-old Adil Dar rammed his car filled with explosives into a convoy carrying Indian paramilitary forces, killing 42 of them.

Pakistan-based group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) claimed responsibility for the attack, the deadliest in nearly 30 years of the Kashmir conflict.

The separatist rebels are fighting for the independence of all of Muslim-majority Kashmir, while some want it to become a part of neighbouring Pakistan.

‘Shoot the traitors’

Since Thursday, dozens of Kashmiris living outside the disputed Himalayan region have been threatened, assaulted or forced to vacate their residences.

Nisar Ahmad (name changed), 23, who is studying physics at an institute in Dehradun, capital of the northern Uttarakhand state, told Al Jazeera that Kashmiri students were beaten by a mob on Friday.

“Following the suicide attack, two Kashmiri students were ruthlessly beaten by a mob in Sudhowala area. We have not even ventured out of our rooms since the attack.”

Ahmad said a group of around 70 people took out a rally in the area on Saturday, “chanting slogans like ‘shoot the traitor Kashmiris’, ‘drive them out'”.

“The situation here is very tense. We feel very insecure here,” he said. “We want to go back to our home but don’t understand how. We are scared of even moving out of our rooms. Our supplies are finished,” he said.

Asma Ashraf, 24, a student of science in Dehradun, told Al Jazeera that she fears for her life after her hostel was “surrounded by a mob”.

“They asked the college authorities to throw the Kashmiris out,” she said.

Members of Hindu Sena, a right-wing Hindu group, burn an effigy depicting Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan in New Delhi [Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters]

Muhammad Dawood, 23, who is from north Kashmir’s Baramulla district and studies geology in Dehradun, told Al Jazeera that he is “unable to move out after attacks by Hindu right-wing mobs”.

“Our landlady saved us as the mob entered our room. I hid in a bathroom,” Dawood said, adding that more than 20 students are stuck and unable to move out “fearing more attacks on their way”.

In the Indian capital, New Delhi, 25-year-old Sara Khursheed told Al Jazeera the Kashmiris are being looked at with “suspicion after the attack”.

“Yesterday, I was returning home from work. A passer-by shouted at me and said these Kashmiris are happy over the killings. We fear we might be thrown out by our landlords,” she said.

Bashir, 24, who is pursuing engineering in Haryana state’s Ambala city, said “violent mobs threatened” Kashmiri students to leave their rented places “immediately through announcements on loudspeakers”.

“We are on the run since yesterday without food. We left the rented place and now the administration has put us in a hostel with some security. We want to go home… We are around 200 students from Kashmir inside the hostel and we can’t go out,” he said.

Bashir is a resident of Pulwama district where the suicide blast took place on Thursday. He did not want to reveal his second name.

Vikas Verma, a member of Bajrang Dal – a far-right Hindu group with links to the ruling BJP and known for attacks against minorities in India, accused the Kashmiri students of “insulting the Indian paramilitary troopers on WhatsApp”.

“They have written against the forces on social media. We have given these students 24 hours to leave, or else they will face the consequences,” said Verma from Dehradun.

Authorities assure of safety

Kashmir region’s police chief Dilbagh Singh told Al Jazeera that “they have taken up the issue with the states where the incidents have taken place to ensure that the students are not touched”.

“Wherever we got the calls from, we got in touch with the respective police and they have ensured us. There is nothing to worry,” he said.

Police in Kashmir have issued helpline numbers for the students residing in mainland India to report threats or attacks.

Many Indians, including Kashmiris across India, were seen posting messages on social media, offering their homes to any Kashmiri threatened or fearing violence.

Kashmiri leaders have appealed to the federal government to ensure the safety of the students and other Kashmiris as right-wing groups call for “revenge attacks”.

Mehbooba Mufti, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir state who ran a coalition government with the BJP until June last year, termed the incidents as “unfortunate”.

“I have talked to the Indian home minister and the administration in Dehradun to help the students. This should not have happened. These people have gone to study there. It will further alienate the situation,” she told Al Jazeera.

Mufti added that there are many areas in India where the situation since Thursday has been “sensitive”.

India’s federal home ministry has issued an advisory to all the states to ensure the safety of all Kashmiris, news agency ANI reported. 

Meanwhile, traders in Kashmir have called for a shutdown on Sunday in protest against the attacks on Kashmiri students.

A demonstrator reacts next to burning cars during a protest in Jammu against the suicide attack [Mukesh Gupta/Reuters]

On Friday, Muslim residents in Jammu accused right-wing groups of setting their vehicles on fire and raising slogans against the Kashmiris residing in the city.

“In the Hindu majority areas of Jammu, wherever they found a car with a Kashmiri number plate, they set it ablaze. Muslims fear to go out. I have not been to work for the past two days,” Suhail Ahmad, a resident of Jammu, said.

The Jammu administration has imposed curfew in the whole district and deployed additional forces to maintain law and order.

While the governments in both Kashmir and at the centre have taken stock of the situation, it has not been enough to allay the fears of Kashmiris living in India.

“The new definition of Indian nationalism is to take rallies with the tricolour flag and loot, arson, kill, support rapists … and you are a nationalist,” Kashmiri activist Rayees Rasool posted on Facebook.

Bilal Kuchay contributed to this report from New Delhi


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Tiger-Cats claim victory against the Argos to maintain home record on Labour Day




The Hamilton Tiger-Cats were at their devastating best against the Toronto Argonauts when the two locked horns on Labour Day at the Tim Hortons Field.

Just like with previous Labour Day fixtures, the Ticats produced a stellar performance with Dane Evans throwing two touchdown passes while Frankie Williams scored on a 67-yard punt return as they claimed a 32-19 victory on Monday. With this vital win, the Ticats extended their Labour Day home record to 7-0.

For players and fans of the Tiger-Cats, games on Labour Day are a lot more special and losing is something the Ticats aren’t used to.

“We know the fans are going to be behind us, we know Toronto is going to be chippy, we know it’s going to be sunny; we know it’s going to be windy. Everything that happened (Monday) we prepared for. There is something extremely special about Tim Hortons Field on Labour Day . . . you can feel it in the air, I can’t put it into words,” said Evans.

After the COVID-19 induced hiatus, the CFL is back in full action and fans can now bet on their favourite teams and just like with online slots Canada, real money can be won. Hamilton (2-2) recorded its second straight win to move into a tie atop the CFL East Division standings with Montreal Alouettes (2-2). Also, the Ticats lead the overall Labour Day series with Toronto 36-13-1.

In the sun-drenched gathering of 15,000—the maximum allowed under Ontario government COVID-19 protocols—the fans loved every minute of this feisty game. After all, this was the Ticats first home game in 659 days, since their 36-16 East Division final win over Edmonton in November 2019.

The contest between the Ticats and Argos was certainly not bereft of emotions, typical of a Labour Day fixture, as it ended with an on-field melee. But the Argos often found themselves on the wrong end of the decisions with several penalty calls and most of the game’s explosive plays.

Hamilton quarterback Evans completed 21-of-29 passing for 248 yards and the two touchdowns while Toronto’s make-shift quarterback Arbuckle completed 18-of-32 attempts for 207 yards. Arbuckle also made a touchdown and two interceptions before eventually being substituted by McLeod Bethel-Thompson.

Bethel-Thompson made an eight-yard TD pass to wide receiver Eric Rogers late in the final quarter of the game.

“They got after us a bit . . . we didn’t block, or pass protect well,” said Ryan Dinwiddie, rookie head coach of the Argos in a post-match interview. “They just kicked our butts; we’ve got to come back and be a better team next week.”

The Labour Day contest was the first of four fixtures this year between Toronto and Hamilton. The two teams would face off again on Friday at BMO Field. Afterwards, the Tim Hortons Field will play host to the Argonauts again on Oct. 11 with the regular-season finale scheduled for Nov. 12 in Toronto.

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Roughriders looking to bounce back after Labor Day defeat




In what an unusual feeling for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, they would now need to dust themselves up after a 23-8 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in what was a Labor Day Classic showdown in front of a full capacity crowd at Mosaic stadium.

Craig Dickenson, head coach of the Riders, witnessed his team with an unbeaten record get utterly dominated by a more superior team from Winnipeg. Now, he has got a lot of work on his hands getting his team back to winning ways as they visit the Banjo Bowl next.

“We’re going to see what we’re made of now…the jury’s out,” said Dickenson.

Dan Clark, who played centre for the Riders expressed his disappointment in losing what was “the biggest game of the year”.

 “If you lose every other game, you don’t want to lose that one. We’ve just got to take the next step,” said Clark in a report. “There are 12 steps to the Grey Cup left and it’s just about taking that next step and focusing on what Saturday will bring.”

With their first defeat to Winnipeg, the Riders (3-1) now rank second place in the CFL’s West Division, trailing the Bombers by one victory (4-1). However, the Riders will have the chance to even the season series during their trip to Winnipeg this Saturday. With the CFL heating up, fans can now enjoy online sports betting Canada as they look forward to their team’s victory.

The Rider’s offensive line will once again have a busy time dealing with the Blue Bombers’ defence.

Quarterback Cody Fajardo, who played one of the best games of his career two weeks earlier, had quite a stinker against the Bombers in the Labour Day Classic—which is the most anticipated game for Rider fans.

Fajardo had a 59 per cent completion percentage which wasn’t quite indicative of what the actual figure was considering he was at 50 per cent before going on a late drive in the final quarter with the Bombers already becoming laid back just to protect the win.

Fajardo also registered a personal worst when he threw three interceptions, but in all fairness, he was always swarmed by the Bomber’s defence.

While Fajardo has claimed responsibility for the loss and letting his teammates down, many would be curious to see how the team fares in their next game and with less than a week of preparation.

Dickenson is confident that his team would improve during their rematch in the 17th edition of the Banjo Bowl in Winnipeg. The only challenge now would be the loss of home advantage and dealing with the noisy home crowd, he added.

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Canadian report reveals spike in food-related litter during pandemic




TORONTO — Restaurants’ inability to offer their usual dine-in service during much of 2020 may explain why an unusually high amount of food-related litter was found across the country, a new report says.

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup (GCSC) is an annual program in which volunteers are encouraged to clean up green spaces and other natural areas.

Last year, single-use food and beverage containers made up 26.6 per cent of waste collected through the program – nearly twice as high a percentage as in 2019, before the pandemic.

“We suspect the change may be one of the many implications of COVID-19, including more people ordering restaurant takeaway and consuming more individually packaged foods,” GCSC spokesperson Julia Wakeling said in a press release.

While food- and beverage-related litter accounted for a greater percentage of waste uncovered by GCSC than in the past, it wasn’t the single largest category of items picked up through the program last year.

That dubious honour goes to cigarette butts and other smoking-related paraphernalia, which comprised nearly 29 per cent of all items collected. There were more than 83,000 cigarette butts among the 42,000 kilograms of waste found and clean up last year.

So-called “tiny trash” – little pieces of plastic and foam – also accounted for a sizeable share of the waste, making up 26.8 per cent of the total haul.

In addition to smoking-related items and tiny trash, the main pieces of litter removed by GCSC volunteers last year included nearly 22,000 food wrappers, more than 17,500 pieces of paper, more than 13,000 bottle caps and more than 10,000 beverage cans.

Discarded face masks and other forms of personal protective equipment were also detected and cleaned up, although not tallied in their own category.  PPE waste has been repeatedly cited as a concern by environmental advocates during the pandemic; a robin in Chilliwack, B.C. is the earliest known example of an animal that died due to coronavirus-related litter.

The GCSC is an annual program organized by Ocean Wise and the World Wildlife Fund Canada. Its operations were disrupted by the pandemic as well; only 15,000 volunteers took part in the program last year, versus 85,000 in 2019, due to delays and public health restrictions making large group clean-ups impossible.

Still, there was GCSC participation from every province and the Northwest Territories in 2020. Nearly half of the volunteers who took part were based in B.C., where the program began in 1994.

Data from past GCSC reports was used as part of the research backing Canada’s ban on certain single-use plastic items, which is scheduled to take effect by the end of 2021.

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