Scribe accuses J&K judge’s escort of assault

SRINAGAR: A journalist who has covered Kashmir for several publications and authored a book on the Valley has alleged that J&K police and security guards of a high court judge assaulted and abused him after he was accused of blocking his convoy with his car on a Srinagar street. David Devadas has written to the Supreme Court chief justice saying he fears for his life as a false case has been registered against him. “After my first-hand experience on Monday (September 5) of attempts to fabricate the sequence of events that led to my being bodily battered, I now fear for my life,’’ Devadas wrote to the CJI.He said one of the men in the escort party later told him that the judge had asked them to stop his car. “…I have been deeply distressed and dismayed at the involvement in any way of an honourable member of the higher judiciary in an incident that led to my being deprived of basic human rights, including my right to liberty.”TOI tried to contact police chief Kuldeep Khoda and chief minister Omar Abdullah but they did not respond. But a senior police officer pleading anonymity told TOI that the journalist obstructed the judge’s motorcade and he directed his detention. Devadas, who has been based in Srinagar for last three years to research for his two books, wrote his ordeal began after the cops in convoy got the impression that his car was obstructing their way in rush hour traffic. “The men in the escort Gypsy jeeps returned in one of those vehicles and immediately assaulted and abused me. One of them snatched my mobile phone. I kept asking for it to be returned but instead they continued hitting me using their hands and metal lathis,’’ he wrote. “This physical violence coupled with abuses continued and they also falsely accused me of having made a ‘jaan-leva hamla’ (lethal attack) against them.” He said the cops also made a baseless allegation that he had a pistol.He wrote a station house officer with a label on his chest reading ‘Ejaz’ ordered his men to forcibly take him to the police station. “Even after having volunteered to board the vehicle, the police personnel instead of respecting my action, seized me by my hair and pulled, pushed, kicked and forced me into the back of the jeep,’’ he wrote. “My shirt was torn across my torso at this point. In the jeep, I was further beaten, abused and kicked, while my head was held down at the floor of the jeep by my hair.”

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