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BJP leader warns Kashmir journalists to ‘mend their ways’ by alluding to Shujaat Bukhari’s murder

BJP’s Choudhary Lal Singh on Friday warned journalists to ‘mend their ways’ over their reporting on the Kathua rape and murder case, with an apparent reference to the assassination of Kashmir journalist Shujaat Bukhari.

india Updated: Jun 23, 2018 23:13 IST
Ashiq Hussain
Ashiq Hussain
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Kashmir journalist,Choudhary Lal Singh,Jammu and Kashmir
Former BJP minister Choudhary Lal Singh leads a protest rally demanding CBI probe in the gang-rape and murder of an 8-year-old Kathua girl, in Jammu.(PTI File Photo)

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Choudhary Lal Singh on Friday warned journalists to ‘mend their ways’ over their reporting on the Kathua rape and murder case, with an apparent reference to the assassination of journalist Shujaat Bukhari.

The forest minister in the previous Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-BJP government, Singh was asked to resign from the cabinet in April after he participated in a rally in support of the accused in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old Muslim tribal girl in Kathua.

In a reference to Kathua case, Singh told a press conference in Jammu on Friday that Kashmiri journalists had created a “wrong atmosphere” there.

“Now I will tell Kashmiri journalists to draw a line on the journalism you do and how you have to live. Do you have to live like what happened to Basharat, so that such a situation emerges?” Singh said. Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari was assassinated by gunmen outside his office on June 14.

Bukhari’s brother Basharat was law and parliamentary affairs minister in the PDP-BJP government before the right-wing party pulled the plug on the alliance and the state came under governor’s rule.

“So mend your ways and draw a line, so that this brotherhood remains intact and there is progress,” Singh said.

Singh’s statement was condemned by former chief minister and National Congress leader Omar Abdullah. “Dear journalists, your colleagues in Kashmir just got threatened by a @BJP4India MLA. It seems Shujaat’s death is now a tool for goons to use to threaten other journalists,” the former chief minister tweeted.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) termed Singh a “ serious threat to the state’s communal harmony and urged governor NN Vohra to facilitate action against him for his “derogatory remarks” against the Kashmiri journalists.

“His statement against the scribes is condemnable and merits immediate action against him as per the law of the land. We urge the governor to immediately book and arrest Lal Singh for his instigative comments,” PDP general Secretary Mansoor Hussain Sohrawardy said.

First Published: Jun 23, 2018 12:58 IST