Srinagar, Jan 1:
A female corporator of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) accused its Mayor Junaid Mattu Monday of sexual harassment, a charge he denied. The corporator from the Congress accused Mattu of “assault” and lodged a police complaint against him and his personal assistant. “The Mayor has continuously been asking me to come along with him for enjoyment. He has harassed me a number of times and not just once. I had submitted an estimate of Rs 25 lakh for development works, but he did not approve it and asked me to accompany him to some place for enjoyment. This is sexual harassment,” the corporator from one of the municipal wards of the city told reporters in Srinagar. She accused the mayor and his assistant of manhandling and abusing her in the presence of other corporators. “They tore my pheran (traditional Kashmiri cloak) and showered choicest of invectives,” she said, adding that she had lodged a police complaint in this regard. However, Mattu issued a statement wherein he denied the allegation and accused the female corporator of demanding “undue and illegal” favours for her family members.”This is in reference to baseless, concocted and motivated accusations made against me by a corporator belonging to the Indian National Congress. The said corporator, who has accused me of sexual harassment, is my mother’s age and has children as old as me,” . The SMC mayor added that he did not attend office on Monday, but chaired a review meeting of the works wing of the SMC at his official residence at Church Lane. “This is a fact that can be verified by nearly 20 gazetted officers, who were present in the meeting, as well as the security staff at my residence and those deputed for access control at my office. At the end of the meeting, I received a call from my private secretary (an employee of the SMC) who said the corporator had barged into my office and physically assaulted the private secretary, Mr Hussain.
“She broke the computers and fixtures in the office, demanding that a shop be allotted in favour of her husband in Srinagar and a job be arranged for a person she claimed to be her son. She had persistently put forth these undue and illegal demands to me, for which I have proof. These are demands that I refused, while upholding the integrity of my office and the SMC,” he said.
Mattu added that he too had lodged a police complaint against the corporator, following which a police team visited the office and recorded the statements of his staff.
Without naming anyone, the SMC mayor alleged that the corporator was putting up fictitious charges against him at the behest of “a senior elected individual”.
“I have spoken to my lawyers and will file a defamation case against the said corporator and urge the police to uncover the truth and uphold the law. I stand by the values of transparency, honesty and diligence in performing my duties and will not succumb to any pressure tactics to facilitate corruption. That is unacceptable. I will fight these baseless allegations and have no doubt that the truth shall prevail,” he said.
The Srinagar Mayor who switched sides from National Conference to Sajad Lone’s People’s Conference last year ahead of the urbal and local bodies polls, got the support from his party supremo as well.
“We have full faith in you”, tweeted Lone, while sharing Mattu’s statement on his timeline.
Srinagar, Jan 1: