Cops escorting J&K minister Ghulam Nabi Lone assault journalist, wife

A senior journalist and his wife were allegedly assaulted on Monday by security personnel escorting the cavalcade of Jammu and Kashmir Agriculture Minister Ghulam Nabi Lone

Srinagar: A journalist working with a leading local English daily today alleged that he was beaten up by the personal security personnel of Jammu and Kashmir Minister Ghulam Nabi Lone after an argument.

Javed Malik alleged that a securityman first passed "lewd" remarks at his wife and then was thrashed by several of them when he wanted to complain to the minister.

"I and my wife were going to buy vegetables from the local market when the Agriculture Minister's motorcade started honking relentlessly at Bagh-e-Mehtab. I allowed the motorcade to pass as soon as possible," Malik told PTI.

The journalist with 'Greater Kashmir' newspaper alleged that some guards of Lone, who was sitting in one of the vehicles, picked up an argument with him, saying he had taken too much time in giving passage to the motorcade.

"As they were leaving, one of the guards passed lewd remarks at my wife. I chased the Minister's motorcade to bring it to his notice," Malik said. 

He claimed that as he walked towards Lone's vehicle to bring the matter to his notice, the guards pounced on him and
thrashed him. 

"The guards were so rude. They kept on beating me despite my wife pleading before them," Malik said.

The Agriculture Minister could not be reached for his comments as he was not in his office and his mobile phone was switched off. 

Meanwhile, opposition National Conference and CPI(M) condemned the incident and demanded action as per law against the erring cops and the Minister.

"This merits cognizance and action at the highest level. The Chief Minister should immediately take action against the erring Minister and the policemen involved should be suspended and arrested for an attempted murder and for harassing the senior journalist's wife.

"This is unacceptable and such behaviour cannot be tolerated. The Minister should face the law and his role in this case should be thoroughly probed. It is quite apparent that he instructed his guards to not only beat the journalist up but also illegally detain him and abduct him," NC spokesman Junaid Azim Mattu said in a statement.

Mattu said the Chief Minister cannot ignore this incident and has to act against the erring Minister.

CPI(M) MLA from Kulgam Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami also called for stringent action against the erring cops.

"The attacks on journalists in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are being replicated in Jammu and Kashmir by the PDP-BJP coalition government .... it is a very disturbing trend and cannot be taken lightly," Tarigami said adding "the government must take strong action to set a deterrent so that such incidents are not repeated".

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