BJP, VHP leaders booked for ‘stoking’ tension

October 05, 2015 12:53 am | Updated 12:54 am IST - SRINAGAR:

At least three leaders from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and one from the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) are on the run after being booked for allegedly stoking communal tension in Rajouri district in the last one month.

State BJP leader Naiter Singh and VHP leader Karan Thakur are absconding since October 2 after a mob of 30-40 people attacked a cop from a particular community when he was tending a cow home.

“Preliminary investigation suggests that late in the evening the policeman was attacked by a strong mob of around 40 people. We have identified around 10 people. A case has been registered and law will take its own course,” Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Rajouri, Haseeb Mughal told The Hindu over phone.

Mr. Mughal said raids are on to arrest Singh, Thakur and others involved in the attack, which prompted a shutdown from Muslims on Saturday.

BJP district general secretary Atam Prakash, and Vikrant Sharma, a government teacher working as the public relations officer of BJP leader Kuldip Raj Gupta, are absconding since September 14 after the police established their role in allegedly uploading a blasphemous picture on social networking sites like WhatsApp. Around a dozen others are being questioned by the police. “We raided the houses of these two BJP leaders, but they have gone underground. Efforts are on to arrest them,” said Mr. Mughal. Rajouri is sitting on a communal powder keg with growing instances of attempts to stoke communal tension in the district which has 61 per cent Muslim population and bitter memories of 1947 and 1965 war between India and Pakistan. The district faced curfew on several occasions since July this year due to communal tensions.

From dispute over the construction of a mosque at Sunderbani to burning of Islamic State flags, the police admit, “It’s becoming a difficult region to govern.”

Rajouri is witnessing heightened activity of right wing groups such as the VHP, the Bajrang Dal and the Shiv Sena. A senior VHP leader addressed 5000-strong crowd two months ago in the district.

There is also brewing anger among Muslims as the police crackdown on bovines saw record seizing of milch animals — around 900 — in the recent past.

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