SRINAGAR: The brother of former Jammu and Kashmir Forest Minister and BJP leader, Chaudhary Lal Singh, who was yesterday booked by police for using abusive language against the chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, has many run-ins with law, including an assault on the editor of a newspaper based in Kathua region of Jammu.

Rajinder Singh, who was caught on camera using unprintable expletives against Mufti during a rally in Jammu last week, assaulted Manoj Kesar, editor of Jammu based Kathua Kesari, over a story regarding some shady sale of land in Kathua district, police sources said.

“The editor had to settle the matter ‘amicably’ because he lives in Kathua region and Lal Singh and his brother are known for using arm-twisting tactics to force their opponents into submission,” sources said.

Sources said Rajinder Singh takes care of the finances of his brother’s flourishing real estate business, “Without their approval, no one can buy or sell land in Kathua. No major real estate transaction in the district can happen without their consent,” sources said.

At a rally organised by Dogri Ekta Manch, the reincarnation of Hindu Ekta Manch that was formed to seek CBI probe into the rape and murder of eight-year-old Kathua girl and release of accused, Rajinder Singh, who deals in real estate business, had last week reiterated the demand for a CBI probe in the case.

“They are trying to secularise a communal formation by renaming Hindu Ekta Manch as Dogri Ekta Manch to rally support from Dogras from Muslim and Sikh community. But the fact remains that they have a communal agenda,” sources said.

Lal Singh, who was unceremoniously dropped as J&K’s forest minister following an uproar over his participation in a Hindu Ekta Manch rally in March to demand release of accused in the Kathua case, has been at the forefront of the polarising Jammu region over the issue.

While his party has acted by dropping him from the cabinet, Lal Singh’s continuing tirades against the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s investigation and the attack on the chief minister Mehbooba Mufti by his brother, indicates that he may have “tacit approval” of the party to continue with his antics.

“Lal Singh can’t speak openly because he continues to be the BJP MLA and thus he has fielded his brother to continue his communal campaign. The party can’t act against him (Lal Singh) because they have no leader of his stature in Kathua,” sources said.

A former leader of the Congress party, Lal Singh switched sides ahead of the 2014 J&K assembly election and won from Basohli constituency on BJP ticket, “The BJP doesn’t trust him fully. Some leaders believe that he may rejoin Congress if any further action is taken against him which will dent the party’s poll prospects in coming elections,” sources said.