Militant outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba said reports about its cadres involvement in the assassination of Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari were an attempt to defame the outfit, PTI reported on Thursday. The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Wednesday identified three suspects in the Bukhari murder case. Two of them are local militants from South Kashmir and the third is a Pakistani, Naveed Jatt, the police said.

“We would like to call their bluff,” said LeT chief Mahmood Shah in a statement sent to media. “If Indian forces are truly convinced that this heinous crime was committed by mujahideen [LeT militants], then they should have no objection to an independent investigation of this murder by a neutral country such as China or Russia.” Shah said the outfit would fully cooperate in the investigation.

Lashkar-e-Taiba spokesperson in a statement said the reports were an attempt to “demonise and defame” the outfit, according to GNS. “It is not a secret to anyone that Indian forces have time and again killed innocent Kashmiris, Indians and even foreign tourists to defame and demonise the mujahideen...”

Bukhari was killed along with his two of his personal security officers in Srinagar’s Press Enclave on June 14. Three suspects were seen on CCTV footage escaping on a motorcycle. The Srinagar Police had sought the general public’s help in identifying the suspects.

The police released photographs of four suspects in the case the day after the assassination. They also arrested a suspect on June 15 but later said he had no role in the attack.