Four media bodies on Sunday sought strict action against senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Choudhary Lal Singh for hinting at violence against journalists in Jammu and Kashmir, PTI reported.
Singh, unhappy with the reportage of the Kathua case, warned journalists on Friday to “mend their ways”. He was a minister in the Mehbooba Mufti-led state government, and had resigned from his post after massive outrage over his participation in a demonstration in support of an accused in the case.
“Now I will tell Kashmiri journalists to draw a line on the journalism you do and how you have to live,” Singh said at a press conference in Srinagar, the Hindustan Times reported. “Do you have to live like what happened to Basharat, so that such a situation emerges?” He was referring to Basharat Bukhari, whose brother Shujaat Bukhari – the editor of Rising Kashmir – was assassinated on June 14.
In a joint statement, the Indian Women’s Press Corps, the Press Club of India, the Press Association and the Federation of Press Clubs of India said: “We, the undersigned organisations demand that strict action be taken against the lawmaker for making threatening remarks hinting possible violence at journalists in the Valley.”
The organisations said that Singh’s statements were a direct attack on the freedom of the press. “They also serve to vitiate atmosphere and endanger the lives of journalists who work and live precariously in conflict situations,” they added.
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Saturday criticised Singh, saying Bukhari’s death was now a “tool for goons to threaten other journalists”. His party asked the police take immediate cognisance of the remarks.