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PDP urges Guv to arrest Lal Singh; NC describes it attempt to muzzle Kashmir media

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Srinagar, Jun 23: Former minister and senior BJP leader Lal Singh’s threat to Kashmiri journalists has drawn flak with PDP urging the Governor to arrest him forthwith while NC said this was a brazen attempt to muzzle the media in Kashmir.

Reacting to the remarks of the BJP leader, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) urged Governor NN Vohra to immediately book and arrest Lal Singh for his “derogatory remarks” against the Kashmiri journalists, terming him a serious threat to state’s communal harmony.

In a statement issued here, PDP general secretary Peerzada Mansoor Hussain said that keeping in view Lal Singh’s continuous rants against the people of Kashmir and his trying to stoke the communal passions in the state, it is highly unfortunate that elements like him are allowed to roam freely.

“Singh through one way or the other has been in the forefront to create a communal rift in the state between the Hindus and Muslims and now he has launched an offensive against the most important pillar of the democracy,” PDP said.

“His statement against the scribes is condemnable, bizarre and malicious and merits immediate action against him as per law of the land. We urge the Governor’s administration of the state to immediately book and arrest Lal Singh for his instigative comments and jibes against the Kashmiri scribes as vicious elements like him if allowed to roam freely would turn the situation into an inferno and have a tendency to tear apart state’s secular fabric,” PDP general secretary said.

He recalled that Singh had, at the time of heinous rape and murder case in Rasana, also tried to fish in the troubled waters and made desperate attempts to give communal color to the heinous act committed against an 8-years-old innocent child of Kuthua.

“PDP at that time too demanded action against him and succeeded in getting him sacked from the council of ministers. Lal Singh’s brother is already facing charges for his derogatory remarks against the former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and was arrested in the recent past.”

PDP said that the Governor administration must deem the issue as an element of utmost urgency and Choudary Lal Singh should be booked and arrested for his uncalled for rhetoric and mischievous statements being issued with a sole objective to unleash communal tensions in the otherwise harmonious and tolerant state.

Reacting to Singh’s rants, National Conference (NC) termed it as “outrageous” and said it merits immediate cognizance by the state police.

“National Conference strongly condemns the outrageous remarks and threatening of Kashmiri journalists by BJP leader and MLA Chdaudhary Lal Singh. This merits immediate cognizance by the @JmuKmrPolice. We hope the law isn’t subverted – party spokesperson,” the party said in a tweet.

Earlier, NC vice president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah wrote on his Twitter account, “Dear journalists, your colleagues in Kashmir just got threatened by a @BJP4India MLA. It seems Shujaat’s death is now a tool for goons to use to threaten other journalists.”

“This was a brazen attempt to muzzle the media in Kashmir. Lal Singh’s open threat to the media fraternity in Kashmir had exposed an intolerant, vituperative and criminal mindset that threatens to subvert freedom of speech and democracy in the state,” NC spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu said in Srinagar.

“We condemn this outrageous threat in the strongest of terms. It should be treated as a criminal attempt to incite violence against journalists and the J&K Police should register an FIR under the relevant statutes of the law. There is absolutely no legal excuse for inaction in this case and an attempt to brush this under the carpet would be unacceptable and will discredit both the writ of the administration and also muzzle free speech in the state,” the NC spokesperson said.

Mattu said, “Chaudhry Lal Singh is a habitual offender who was forced to resign for his role in shielding the accused in the Kathua rape and murder case after the case received national media outrage. He harbours a strong sense of vengeance against the media fraternity in the state who exposed him and his colleague that eventually resulted in his resignation being sought. BJP has failed to take action against Singh despite repeated instances of him crossing the red line and trying to vitiate the atmosphere in the state.”

“A continued failure to take action against him would amount to the BJP being complicit in his statements and actions,” he added.

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