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The Hindu
The Hindu
The Hindu Bureau

Assault case filed against prominent BJP leader in Kashmir after street protest

Senior BJP leader Aijaz Hussain Rather, who won the District Development Council (DDC) polls in 2020, was booked in an assault case by the Jammu and Kashmir police on May 31, a day after residents of the Balhama area held a demonstration against him in Srinagar.

A police spokesman said the First Information Report (FIT) was lodged on the basis of a complaint filed by Nazim Hussain Bhat and Imdad Ali Mir at the Panthachowk Police Station. The police have booked Mr. Rather under Sections 323 and 341 of the Indian Penal Code on offences of wrongful restraint and voluntarily causing hurt.

In a viral video, a local is being manhandled by Mr. Rather and his personal security officers (PSOs). The allegations of manhandling were refuted by Mr. Rather. He was among the two BJP candidates who won the DDC elections in the Kashmir valley in 2020 and became the first elected member of the BJP in the Valley. He is a prominent leader of the BJP and canvassed for the party in several states of the country. 

“Our life has been made miserable by Aijaz in the Balhama area. He is neck-deep in corruption but no action has been taken against him. He harasses the locals in the name of land grabs etc. He barges into peoples’ houses. He is misusing his security personnel. We seek the intervention of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha,” a group of protesters, who held a demonstration in Srinagar, said.

Junaid Azim Mattu, Mayor of Srinagar, also accused the BJP leader of unleashing “terror”. “What lawlessness! This is the second similar incident by this man. He will end up killing an innocent civilian someday. It is just a matter of time. The entire village of Balhama is reeling under his terror,” Mr. Mattu said.

However, Mr. Rather refuted the allegations and accused a few families of Balhama of “grabbing State as well as Pandits’ land”. “This is a conspiracy against the BJP and their ideology. Official notices have gone to those who protested against me. We will not accept land grabbing,” Mr. Rather said. 

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