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Shujaat Bukhari’s murder was planned in Pakistan, says J-K Police

Police also released pictures of four suspects, blaming them for killing the editor-in-chief of Rising Kashmir and his two guards on June 14.

india Updated: Jun 28, 2018 22:15 IST
Mir Ehsan
Mir Ehsan
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Shujaat Bukhari,Shujaat Bukhari murder,Shujaat Bukhari murder conspiracy
Journalists participate in a silent protest against the brutal killing of a senior Kashmiri journalist Shujaat Bukhari, portrait seen, in Kolkata, June 15, 2018.(AP File Photo)

Jammu and Kashmir police on Thursday named Sajjad Gul of Srinagar, now based in Pakistan, Azad Ahmad Malik alias Dada, Muzuffar Ahmad (both from south Kashmir), and Naveed Jutt, a Pakistani militant who had escaped from SMHS hospital in February, as the people responsible for the killing of journalist Shujaat Bukhari, and also released their photographs.

Malik, Ahmad, and Jutt are all members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba , the police said, adding that they have credible evidence that the conspiracy to kill Bukhari was hatched in Pakistan.

According to Kashmir’s inspector general of police, Swayam Prakash Pani, Interpol’s help will be sought to issue a red corner notice against Gul. A red corner (or red notice) is issued by Interpol to seek the location and hold someone accused of a crime with the intent to extradite him or her.

The role of Zubair Qayoom , from whose possession police recovered a pistol and two mobile phones which were lifted from the scene of crime, is “also being investigated”, Pani added.

Malik and Ahmad became militants in 2016, while Jutt has been active since 2009.

Pani said the case has two parts, “conspiracy and its execution”.

It started with a hate campaign against Bukhari, effected by Gul, he explained. Several posts in the public domain ”spread hate against Shujaat Bukhari on” Pani said. There were also posts on Facebook and Twitter, he added. “We have tangible evidence that these were done from Pakistan and a part of the LeT conspiracy.’’

(Clockwise) Sheikh Sajjad Gul, Azad Ahmad Malik, Naveed Jatt and Muzafar Ahmad Bhat - the suspects in senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari’s murder case.

Sajjad Gul was earlier arrested by the Delhi police sometime in 2003, Pani said. Again, he was arrested in Kashmir by Srinagar police in 2016 for terror cases. The accused obtained a passport fraudulently and left the country in March 2017.”

“Gul is one of the persons who actually created those blogs and those write-ups. We have very strong evidence against him,” Pani said.

Bukhari, 50, the editor-in-chief of Rising Kashmir newspaper, was attacked by three gunmen on a motorcycle while he was entering his car on the evening of June 14. Two of his security guards were also killed as gunmen sprayed bullets on them.

People familiar with the development who asked not to be identified said the police received vital clues from the murder site and also from CCTV cameras in the vicinity soon after the killing.

Militant groups have denied killing the senior journalist and instead blamed security agencies.

Journalists have held several protests in Srinagar and asked the government to identify the killers. Even the separatist Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), headed by separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Yasin Malik and Mirwaiz Umar Farooqm called for a day-long strike against the killing of Bukhari and other civilians.

First Published: Jun 28, 2018 16:58 IST