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Former Sarpanch held for terror links no longer with party, says BJP

A BJP spokesman on Friday said that a former sarpanch, arrested by the National investigation Agency (NIA) in a terror case on Wednesday, had unsuccessfully contested Assembly elections in J&K in 2014 on a party ticket but was suspended for anti-party activities four years later.

A BJP spokesman on Friday said that a former sarpanch, arrested by the National investigation Agency (NIA) in a terror case on Wednesday, had unsuccessfully contested Assembly elections in J&K in 2014 on a party ticket but was suspended for anti-party activities four years later.  

A BJP spokesman on Friday said that a former sarpanch, arrested by the National investigation Agency (NIA) in a terror case on Wednesday, had unsuccessfully contested Assembly elections in J&K in 2014 on a party ticket but was suspended for anti-party activities four years later.

The suspect, Tariq Ahmad Mir, 36, was arrested by the NIA in a case registered in January, after a J&K police officer Davinder Singh was caught travelling in a car with Hizbul Mujahideen militants. Mir is in six-days custody of the NIA.

Altaf Thakur, BJP spokesperson in Srinagar told The Hindu that Mir was the party candidate from Wachi Assembly seat in South Kashmir in 2014 but his primary membership was terminated on October 3, 2018.

“Mir is not occupying any position in the BJP. We did not know of his background in 2014 when he contested the elections. In 2018, when we found that he was not participating in party-related programmes, the disciplinary committee terminated his membership. He became close to parties whose ideology did not match with ours,” Mr. Thakur said.

He added that that the party disassociates itself from Mir.

Mir’s name surfaced during the interrogation of Naveed Mushtaq Shah, a Hizbul Mujahideen militant. Shah reportedly told interrogators that Mir was involved in providing weapons to other terrorist groups.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Singh was arrested with Naveed, Rafi Ahmed Rather, another Hizbul militant and Irfan Shafi, a lawyer, on January 11 in South Kashmir’s Kulgam. The accused were enroute to the residence of Naveed’s younger brother Syed Irfan Ahmad in Jammu. A PhD scholar, Irfan was arrested on January 24 by the J&K police. The case was subsequently transferred to the NIA.

Gram panchayat elections are not fought on party symbols but candidates do get support from political parties. Mir was elected in 2011. NIA had raided multiple locations in February, including Mir’s house, but he was not arrested then.

Mr. Thakur said, “the reports that he is BJP sarpanch are far from the reality as panchayat polls were held on non party basis in J&K.”

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2020 4:59:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sarpanch-held-for-terror-links-no-longer-with-party-says-bjp/article31481231.ece

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