Kitchloo, Henchmen Beat Officer In Kishtwar

CEO KDA Moves Police For FIR Against MoS Home, Supporters

SRINAGAR: Resentment flared up against minister of state for home, Sajjad Ahmad Kitchloo, in his home constituency of Kishtwar shortly before the chief minister’s visit on Thursday after he publicly slapped a senior government officer who was also assaulted by the former’s guards and supporters.

The aggrieved officer, Riyaz Ahmad Chaudhary, who is the CEO of the Kishtwar Development Authority, lodged a written complaint with the police for an FIR against the minister over the incident.

Kitchoo was said to have lost his cool with the officer while reviewing arrangements for the chief minister’s visit at the local tourist centre, eyewitnesses said.

Apparently, the minister was riled by Chaudhary’s prompt and terse answers to queries, and slapped him in front of a number of civil and police officers.

“The minister hit me without any reason,” the CEO told the KNS on phone. “When he slapped me a third time, I asked him the cause of the public insult. That was when hell broke loose.”

“The minister’s guards and supporters went berserk the instant I uttered these words, and beat me up before civil and police officers,” he said.

“They would perhaps have killed me,” he said. “I am going to file an FIR with the police against them.”

Eyewitnesses said that the deputy inspector general (DIG) of police for Doda-Batote, Ashkoor Wani, and the deputy superintendent of the police (DSP) headquarters, Shaukat Qaisar, were among those present during the incident.

According to reports, Chaudhary was kept under police guard after the assault, and let go only after the chief minister’s function.

A senior Kishtwar journalist, Asif Iqbal Nayak, said that he too had been kept in police custody to prevent him from airing his recorded footage of the incident.

“I had filmed the entire episode, but was detained briefly to prevent me from sending out the recording,” Nayak said.   

Meanwhile, Kitchloo was said to have sought the services of the area’s assistant revenue commissioner to cool down matters with the CEO, but made no headway.

Various political parties and the trade union in Kishtwar have reacted severely to the minister’s assault on the government officer.

“Kitchloo has become arrogant and highhanded ever since he became minister,” they said.

Local BJP leader Sunil Sharma and PDP district president Wasil Dolwaal too have severely condemned the minister’s assault on the government officer.

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