Himachal BJP Prez embroiled in casteist controversy

Shimla: With Panchayats and urban local body elections on the brink, BJP has suffered a body blow as a fellow party man has slapped a case about atrocities on scheduled caste – scheduled tribe against state party president Khimmi Ram, who could face arrest for the criminal offence.

Confirming registration of the case on Saturday evening, Kullu district police chief Abhishek Dullar said, “Ram Singh has registered an FIR under section 3-989 of the Atrocities against Scheduled Cast/Scheduled Tribe Act against Khimmi Ram, MLA and Dharmvir Dhammi for having passed casteist remarks against him.”

While efforts to diffuse the situation failed, sources claimed that Ram Singh and his supporters resorted to an agitation before Kullu police station to get the case registered as the police were initially reluctant to lodge an FIR.

About seriousness of the offence involved that entails arrest without bail, Director General Police, Daljit Manhas said, “a DSP level officer would be appointed to investigate the case.”
When My Himachal News contacted, Khimmi Ram, who represent Kullu in the state assembly, he denied having passed any casteist remarks.

He said that Ram Singh, a district BJP president, had applied for a ticket to the Kullu municipality elections but it was given to someone else.

“I’m surprised at the turn of events, for nothing of the sort happened and no casteist remarks were made,” said Khimmi Ram.

However Govind Thakur, a BJP MLA from Manali, who claimed to be present at the meeting told My Himachal News that a reference to caste was made at a meeting of party workers that was convened to discuss allocation of party tickets for the ensuing municipal polls.

“The meeting was presided over by BJP state president Khimmi Ram, and both Dharmvir Dhammi and Ram Singh were present,” said Thakur. “Feeling offended, Ram Singh had left the venue,” he added.

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