The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Thursday confirmed reports that the accused in the murder of Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari on June 14 were associated with militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba. The police The police also said that Sajjad Gul, a resident of Srinagar who is believed to be in Pakistan, initiated an online hate campaign against Bukhari.
The state police identified and released pictures of accused Muzaffer Ahmad, Naveen Jatt and Azad Ahmad Malik, who have been linked to the militant organisation. The three had reportedly fled the scene of the crime on a two-wheeler after killing Bukhari.
Inspector General of Police SP Pani told reporters that his department was searching for the four accused identified in the case. “We will approach the court and obtain a non-bailable warrant against the accused,” Pani said. The police have released images of the accused.
The police said their investigation revealed that the social media campaign against Bukhari originated in Pakistan. They alleged that Gul left for Pakistan in March 2017 on a fraudulent passport. He was arrested and imprisoned for a while in 2012 for his alleged role in a terror case.
On Wednesday, reports said the police had accused three militants of being responsible for killing Bukhari. Two of them are local militants from South Kashmir and the third is a Pakistani, an unidentified police officer told The Indian Express.
Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Mahmood Shah, in a statement sent to media, had refuted the allegations. “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.
Bukhari was killed along with his two of his personal security officers in Srinagar’s Press Enclave. The Srinagar Police had sought the general public’s help in identifying the suspects.