A senior editor of a local daily was thrashed on Monday morning by the escort of state agriculture minister Ghulam Nabi Hanjura and allegedly detained inside a police station for hours.
Javed Malik, a senior editor with daily Greater Kashmir, was allegedly attacked near Srinagar's Bagh-e-Mehtab area when he was travelling in a car along with his wife at around 11 am.
"One of the cops passed lewd remarks at my wife. I chased the cavalcade to lodge my protest. However, the minister directed the cops to arrest me instead," alleged Malik.
The scribe alleged that the cops pounced on him from all sides. "As the minister rolled up his car screen, the cops started beating me up. They hit me on the face and hurled abuses," said Malik.
The journalist was detained inside the Channapora police station for hours together. He alleged the police refused to lodge an FIR and threatened a counter FIR instead.
The police, while refusing to comment on the issue, alleged the journalist obstructed the minister's cavalcade. Several political parties have condemned the police high-handedness.
Moderate Hurriyat advisor advocate Shahid-ul-Islam strongly condemned the physical assault on the journalist. "This amounts to intimidation of the journalist fraternity," said Islam.
Meanwhile, the National Conference (NC) also expressed shock and disgust over the assault on Malik. "This happened while the minister kept watching and after he passed instructions to his guards to assault the senior journalist makes the minister culpable and guilty of this crime," said NC spokesman Junaid Mattu.
"When a cabinet minister supervises the assault on commuters on our roads with such brazenness, one can only rue over the misfortune of the state for being governed by such individuals," added Mattu.
The NC has asked the chief minister to speak up on this issue and unconditionally apologise. "This merits cognisance 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 harassing the senior journalist's wife," said the NC spokesman.