Srinagar: Police accused Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba on Thursday of the murder of a prominent journalist in Jammu and Kashmir.
A senior police official released the names and pictures of four people who he said were involved in the June 14 murder of Syed Shujaat Bukhari. The editor of the Rising Kashmir newspaper had been a strong advocate of peace in the region.
Jammu and Kashmir’s Inspector General of Police SP Pani said one of the gunmen, Sajad Gul, was a Kashmiri based in Pakistan, while the others – Ajaz Ahmad Malik, Muzaffar Ahmad and Naveed Jutt – were Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants.
Two gunmen including Jutt, an LeT commander, pulled the trigger, Pani told reporters.
“Investigations revealed that the conspiracy was hatched in Pakistan,” he said. “There was a series of campaigns used against Shujaat,” Pani said, adding that five to six hate messages against Bukhari were circulated on Twitter and Facebook before his killing.
Gul, who obtained a fake passport and left India in March last year, wrote the messages, Pani said.
The LeT, which has repeatedly plotted attacks in India, denied any involvement in Bukhari’s murder on Wednesday after local media reports, which quoted anonymous sources, said the Pakistan-based organisation was behind the killing.
“This is nothing but a blatant lie,” an LeT spokesman said in a statement.
Bukhari was shot dead by three assailants when he was leaving his office in the city centre of Srinagar.
Earlier this month, days after Bukhari’s killing, Bharatiya Janata Party quit the ruling coalition in Jammu and Kashmir and called for federal control over the region, citing a deterioration in security.