Kashmir legislator attacked with ink, two arrested

New Delhi: An independent legislator from Jammu and Kashmir, who had been beaten up by BJP members in the state assembly for organising a beef party, faced an ink attack by some members of a little known Hindu outfit here on Monday.

Two people, suspected of smearing face of Engineer Rashid with ink after he held a press meet here on Monday to criticise a fire-bomb attack in Udhampur in which a youth from Kashmir died and the Dadri lynching, were arrested.

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Rashid, who recently hosted a beef party on the lawns of the government circuit house in Srinagar and was thrashed by Bharatiya Janata Party members in the assembly, was attacked on the second time in few days.

The Hindu Sena, a lesser known group, claimed responsibility for the attack outside the Press Club following a press conference where he talked about the Udhampur attack.

“The two people have now been arrested and taken to the Parliament Street Police station and investigations are on,” a police official said.

Monday’s attack drew criticism from political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir.

Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed said: “In a vibrant democracy like India, we need to have courage to respect dissent and provide space to different point of views.”

“The spate in unpleasant incidents such as this is most disturbing,” he added.

National Conference chief Omar Abdullah tweeted: “The attack on Engineer Rashid is unacceptable and condemnable in the strongest possible terms. The climate of intolerance and violence is very worrying.”

Legislators Hakim Yaseen, Nizamuddin Bhat and Usman Majeed also issued statements here condemning the attack, terming it an act of intolerance and against the spirit of democracy.

During his press conference, Rashid criticised the Narendra Modi government for its “intolerance” towards the minority community. “PM Modi should apologise for the incidents which took place in Udhampur and Dadri.”

Blaming Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the Udhampur incident, Rashid said: “If the Uttar Pradesh government can be held responsible for Dadri incident, BJP is equally responsible for the Udhampur incident along with its ally PDP (Peoples Democratic Party).”

Zahid Bhat and Showkat Ahmad Dar from Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district sustained major injuries when a mob had hurled a fire bomb on their stationary truck at Udhampur on the Jammu-Srinagar highway earlier this month.

Both were undergoing treatment in Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi where Bhat succumbed to his burn injuries.

In Dadri, Mohammad Akhlaq, 50, was dragged out of his house on September 28 and lynched following rumours that he slaughtered a cow, which is venerated by Hindus. The family has denied the charge, saying they only ate mutton.

Demanding immediate action against those involved in the Udhampur attack, Rashid said: “The accused should be hanged… The attackers are mentally sick. I want the whole world to see how these people are trying to suppress the voice of Kashmiris.”

“Are we living in Hindustan of (RSS chief) Mohan Bhagwat or (BJP MP)Sakshi Maharaj ? The prime minister talks of Talibanisation and radicalisation. What is this happening in Jammu and Kashmir? Nobody is speaking. I request you with folded hands to highlight the plight of Kashmiris,” he said.