The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Friday said they had taken into custody a suspect in theshooting of Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari, ANI reported. Inspector General SG Pani told reporters at a press conference that the suspect, identified as Zubair Qadri, was seen in a photo standing at the scene of the crime, trying to retrieve a pistol.
“So far, he has not been able to give any convincing answers,” Pani said, according to PTI. He added that the state police had formed a Special Investigation Team under Deputy Inspector General (Central Kashmir) VK Virdi to investigate Bukhari’s murder.
“As far as the case is concerned at this stage it is a terror incident,” Pani told reporters. “It is a terrorist-related crime.”
Earlier in the day, the police released photographs of four suspects in the case. Three suspects are seen escaping on a motorcycle. The Srinagar Police sought the general public’s help in identifying the suspects.
Earlier on Friday, hundreds of people, including journalists and politicians, joined Bukhari’s funeral procession. Mourners followed the cortege even as it rained in Baramulla, where his ancestral village is located. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Opposition leader Omar Abdullah had offered their condolences on Thursday.
Bukhari was shot in the head and abdomen multiple times as he left his office in Srinagar’s press enclave. His personal security officers Hamid Chaudhary and Mumtaz Awan were also killed in the attack.
The Press Club of Jammu, which held an urgent meeting on Thursday night, urged the state government to ensure the safety of journalists. “The 90s-like situation has once again seems to be returning in the Kashmir valley when the journalists were used to be attacked and assassinated,” said Press Club President Ashwani Kumar.
While separatist leaders condemned the journalist’s killing, militant outfits Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen blamed India, and demanded an independent investigation into the murder.