A member of the legislative council from the Peoples Democratic Party Firdous Tak had a narrow escape Friday after a group of right-wing Bajrang Dal activists attacked him outside the Press Club here over his alleged anti-Jammu remarks.
Soon after Tak arrived at the Press Club to address media over some political developments and prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir, especially in his Kishtwar district, a group of Bajrang Dal activists led by Rakesh and Rohit Bajrangi—who carried black flags—attacked Tak’s car and forced him to stay inside for over 15 minutes.
Amid slogans ‘Firdous Tak hai hai; Desh kay gadaroon ko goli maro; Jammu kay gadaroon ko juttay maro; Go back Firdous Tak go back’, the MLC stepped out of his car, leading to a minor scuffle during which the Bajrang Dal activists tried to assault him.
The police personnel deployed on the spot as well as Tak’s personal security guards intervened and rescued the MLC.
The police use mild lathi-charge on the protesters to “maintain law and order”. Over a dozen activists were detained for attacking Tak.
Later, the MLC addressed a press conference at the Press Club and said: “The attack on me outside the conference hall is an attempt of muzzle all saner voices who talk of communal harmony and unity of Jammu and Kashmir”.
Tak expressed apprehensions of “another communal violence” in Kishtwar before the upcoming assembly elections and appealed to the people to “remain watchful of rioters and goons”.
Expressing concern over “growing sense of fear and terror” among the people of Kishtwar after the killing of a BJP leader and his brother in the mountainous town last month, Tak said: “Every resident of Chenab Valley shared the pain of Parihar family who lost two members. But after that unfortunate incident, the police started harassing people of a particular community.”
“More than 45 days have passed since the incident took place, but the police and the National Investigation Agency have failed to crack the case,” he said.
Demanding a speedy investigation into the case, he said: “People of Kishtwar are cooperating with the probe agencies. So far more than 150 persons including four girls of a particular community were illegally detained and questioned by the state police in the name of investigations”.
Tak also questioned a statement of governor Satya Pal Malik, who had claimed that the killers of Parihar brothers were “indentified and arrested”.
“If it is true, why the state administration is hiding things and if it is not true, then who misled the governor?” he asked.
“The governor publicly said the killers of Parihar brothers were arrested and identified. Who is then stopping the governor to announce the names of killers if they have been caught? Why is the State hushing up the case?”
The PDP leader said the Parihar brothers’ killing wasn’t the first political killing in Kishtwar.
“There have been 10 such mysterious murders and the killers are yet to be nabbed,” he said.
Tak said, “The killing of Parihar brothers was a deliberate attempt to disturb peace in Kishtwar and revive militancy.”
He called Kishtwar a “factory for a political outfit”, and said: “There were organised communal riots in 2007 in Kishtwar just before the 2008 assembly elections. These riots were re-organised in 2013 before the 2014 parliamentary and assembly elections and now again attempts are made to flare-up the situation.”
Terming Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as “cancer for the state”, Tak said the “saffron brigade is trying hard to disrupt peace in Chenab region for petty political gains”.
“The illegal confinement of youth and crackdowns are leading to a growing feeling of alienation which needs to be countered at the earliest,” he said.
Opposing the idea of re-deployment of special operations group of police in Chenab Valley and raising forces’ bunkers there, Tak said: “15 years ago, Chenab region was declared militancy-free. There is zero percent militancy and as per government data, there is only one 65-year-old surviving militant left in Kishtwar and to track him, we need CCTVs, not bunkers and SOG.”
He alleged that in the name of investigations, forces were “targeting a particular community”.
“There is an attempt to terrorise people. 45 days ago, Kishtwar market remained opened till 9 pm but now it shuts around 5 pm. We don’t want this kind of a situation,” he said.
“We know who is trying to gain from militancy and counter-insurgency”, he said and claimed that people “are aware of intentions of administration and will not allow anybody to disturb the peaceful atmosphere in Kishtwar”.
Tak appealed to the people of the state to “remain alert against evil designs of those trying to incite communal tension.”
“My humble request to the peace-loving people is that they should maintain peace and harmony,” he said.
He asked the central and state government “not to test the patience of peace-loving people” and urged the police to “refrain from harassing people of a particular community in the name of investigations”.
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