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Lal Singh–the serial offender

Lal Singh has done it again. The senior BJP leader and former minister from Jammu has threatened Kashmir-based journalists of Shujjat Bukhari-like fate if they did not fall in line. Shujjat, editor of daily Rising Kashmir, was killed by unknown assailants on June 14 outside his office at press enclave in Srinagar. Lal Singh is miffed with Kashmir journalists for exposing his communal and criminal conduct in supporting the Kathua rape-accused. The rape and murder of 8-year old nomadic girl at Rasana in Kathua is horror story beyond belief. The girl was kept captive in a temple for several days where she was sedated, raped and later murdered. While the media persons in Jammu ignored or downplayed the brutal incident, the Srinagar media men maintained extra-degree of professional integrity and honesty in brining the case to public attention. Lal Singh, who was a minister in the state cabinet, along with another minister Chandra Prakash Ganga held protest rallies in support of the people accused in the rape and murder of the 8-year old girl. On one occasion, Lal Singh, while addressing the rape-accused supporters, said “what then if she was raped and murdered. Many such incidents have happened or are happening in the country”. He was also opposing the probe by local police and instead sought for CBI probe. A number of other BJP MLAs and leaders besides the Congress also demonstrated their public support for the rape accused. Embarrassed by the conduct of its ministers and leaders, Lal Singh and Ganga were removed from the state cabinet. Lal Singh believes that his expulsion from the cabinet was due to the exposition made by Srinagar journalists. Since then Lal Singh has been leading a public campaign in Jammu under the brand Dogra Gorow (Dogra pride) name across Jammu and Kathua districts. Lal Singh’s threat to Kashmiri journalists does not only amount to incitement to violence but it also makes one to understanding that he knows who, how and why Shujjat was killed. His warning ‘fall in line or face Shujjat-like fate’ is gross admission and broad indication of the real story behind Sujjat’s killing. Police should take note of Lal Singh’s public statement. He should be arrested and interrogated for his alleged role in Shujjat’s murder. This is not for the first time that Lal Singh made a public case for his criminal and communal actions. He is a serial offender. Some time back he threatened a Gujjar Muslim delegation of “repetition of 1947”. “Tum 1947 ko bhool gaye kiya” (did you forget 1947”, Lal Singh told the delegation who had come to him address their grievances. Thousands of Muslims were massacred in and around Jammu including Reasi, Rajouri, Poonch, Kathua, Samba and Udhampur during partition in 1947. Ever since he was expelled from the state cabinet, his anti Muslim and anti Kashmir campaign has touched new heights. He does not fear law. He is unrepentant of his actions and words. A common perception is that he has been given a free hand by the BJP to polarize the state on communal grounds to get Hindus on their side during elections. It is for this fact that BJP is not acting against him. Incidentally, when Lal Singh issued threat to Kashmiri journalists, BJP’s national president Amit Shah was in Jammu. He did not make even a slight reference to Singh’s warning. Interestingly, before joining BJP, Lal Singh as a Congressman, described Prime Minister Narendra Mod “worse than a dog”. “Raha Modi, aray hum to Kutta bhi oss ki zaat dekh kar rakhte” (what Modi, even dogs we keep are of high breed), he said when BJP declared Narendra Modi as their prime ministerial candidate in 2013. The video is still available on youtube. Since the state is presently under Governor’s rule, N N Vohra should take cognizance of Lal Singh’s criminal conduct and he should be arrested and made to pay for his actions and utterances.