Lone assaulted by J&K Shiv Sena chief
1 April 2002
Chennai: The senior All-Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) leader, Abdul Gani Lone, was assaulted by the Jammu and Kashmir Shiv Sena chief, Kalki Maharaj, when he was addressing mediapersons in a Jammu hotel this afternoon. Mr. Lone had called the press conference to express his concern over ''police excesses against the JKLF chairman, Mohammed Yasin Malik, in custody''. Even as he was surrounded by a group of videographers from various TV networks, Mr. Maharaj barged into the hotel, pushed Mr. Lone and slapped him. Mr. Maharaj was accompanied by a posse of personal security officers who, according to Mr. Lone, helped him in the assault. ''My personal security officer, Ghulam Hassan, had been kept in custody by his (Maharaj''s) policemen, perhaps to facilitate the attack,'' Mr. Lone said. The Shiv Sena leader, accompanied by his supporters, abused Mr. Lone and shouted slogans such as ''Bal Thackeray zindabad''. He told Mr. Lone that he had no right to call a press conference in Jammu where the militants had attacked the Raghunath Temple on Saturday. Mr. Lone was rescued by some mediapersons. The policemen who accompanied Mr. Maharaj pushed Mr. Lone''s PSO aside and did not allow him to protect the Hurriyat leader, who had recently undergone heart surgery. Repeated attempts to contact Mr. Maharaj in Jammu failed. ''He is not present in the house'' was the response from his residence. The DIG, Jammu, Dilbag Singh, said Mr. Lone had not lodged any complaint so far. ''It is between two individuals and not cognizable,'' he added. When contacted, Mr. Lone condemned the attack and said ''these are the people who are involved in the Gujarat riots and have created havoc in India. This reflects their Fascist mindset.'' Mr. Lone said he had called the press conference to highlight the ''maltreatment'' being meted out to Mr. Malik in police custody. ''The SP of SOG, Manohar Singh, had beaten him (Mr. Malik) mercilessly, damaging his ear which was recently operated upon in the U.S.,'' Mr. Lone said and added that his condition was deteriorating. ''I am going to fight for his release in the Supreme Court and will consult legal luminaries like Ram Jethmalani. One fails to understand that on the one hand, the Government wants to talk to separatists while on the other, they are being implicated in false cases,'' Mr. Lone said.