The politics of Kashmir which is otherwise unwary of the politics elsewhere in India has started to feel the heat of firebrand monk Yogi Adityanath’s appointment as UP Chief Minister. Yogi Adityanath has recently sent legal notices to two leaders from the Valley seeking apology for their utterances “against” him.

The unusual development has festered war of words with the Kashmiri politicians fetching support from far and wide. Within days of assuming charge as the CM of the most populous Indian state, Adityanath is sensitive to voices even from far off regions like restive Kashmir, where pro-aazadi sentiment is already against the “saffron brigade.”

The BJP has booked National Conference spokesman Junaid Azim Mattu and Congress leader Salman Nizami in two separate cases. Nizami, who had gone on a rapid-fire of allegedly incriminating tweets like “The man who called for the raping of dead Muslim women is UP’s new CM”, was the one first to receive a defamation notice. The Congress leader had also tweeted that “Those celebrating #YogiAdityanath should remember that this country is great only because of its diversity, not coz of these bigots.”

Earlier on March 19, Nizami had tweeted, “Zakir Naik is being hounded despite no evidence against him. Yogi Adityanath has cases of murder, riots registered against him.” While Nizami says he stands by his statements and was not going to bow down or be intimidated by the notice, the politician has only upped his ante against Adityanath.

Nizami said he was selectively targeted. “From international media to common people, everyone criticized this intolerant monk taking over as CM. But why I alone was targeted is mainly because I happen to be Muslim who was active in UP elections,” Nizami informed InUth, adding he has been receiving death threats since then.

Interestingly, hundreds of people have already come forward to support Nizami mainly on Twitter under hashtag campaign #IstandWdSalmanNizami.  “Eighty percent of these supporters are non-Muslims,” the Congress leader added.

In the latest, the UP CM has sought apology from NC spokesman and twiteratti Junaid Mattu.  “Have just received a legal ‘notice for defamation’ on behalf of UP CM Yogi Adityanath demanding an apology. Will respond legally,” Mattu said on social media on April 3. Talking to InUth Mattu says he has been booked for his “old tweet” pertaining to Adityanath and “digging out of graves of Muslim women.”

Interestingly, in Kashmir those who are otherwise against mainstream politics are this time supporting their “Kashmiri brethren” against “saffron-robed monk.” “Forget politics, this is the onslaught of Hindutva on Muslims, so we need to be united,” Mattu said.

But then how does regional party NC look at Adityanath’s reaction to tweets from Kashmir? “I don’t think it’s just about Kashmir. It’s intolerance about Muslims. A Kashmiri politician who is active on media front is an irritant for people like Mr Yogi and his followers. So this is intolerance towards Muslims in general,” he added. But will Mattu apologize? “The question doesn’t arise. Not at all,” Mattu concluded.