New Delhi, June 17: Hurriyat and ISI may be behind the killing of senior journalist and ‘Rising Kashmir’ editor Shujaat Bukhari because the latter refused to back their opposition of the “Ramzan ceasefire” initiative, according to a Times of India report.Also Read - Jammu-Kashmir Separatist Leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani's Grandson Sacked From Govt Service. Here's Why
The separatist hardliners had been pressurising the senior journalist to accept their rejection of any peace talks, the report cited central sources as saying. Also Read - Jammu And Kashmir: Two Non-local Street Vendors Shot Dead by Terrorists, Area Cordoned Off
In fact, the separatists had carried out a bitter social media campaign against Bukhari, following which the Jammu and Kashmir Police had alerted him a month before the fatal attack and has asked him to remain more vigilant in his movements. Also Read - Army Launches Search Operation After 2 Soldiers Go Missing During Encounter in J&K: Report
The social media campaigns against Bukhari had projected him as a “pro-India stooge” and had linked him with security agencies. The police suspect these campaigns a build-up of the assassination plot.
The police suspect that one of the assassins caught on the CCTV camera is Naveed Jatt, a LeT terrorist who had escaped from a Srinagar hospital while being taken for a check-up.
“We suspect that Lashker-e-Toiba was instructed by ISI to eliminate him,” a state police official was quoted by Times of India as saying.
Bukhari actively supporting “Ramzan ceasefire” and government’s peace initiatives in the Valley seems to have disgruntled the Pakistan military and ISI, along with terror outfits like Hizbul Mujahideen and LeT.
Civil rights group People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has also said that the “assassination was meant to derail the peace process”. “He was against violence from all sides and advocated the need to bring peace through dialogue. He supported the ceasefire,” he said.
On June 14, fifty-three-year-old ‘Rising Kashmir’ Editor was killed by terrorists in Srinagar’s Press Colony area at around 7.15 PM, the Iftar time. He was reportedly shot multiple times by unknown assailants who had their faces covered.
In the past, Bukhari had survived three assassination attempts, following which he was given police protection since 2000. His security guards, who were also shot dead had on Thursday been issued two 9 mm pistols. The police had recovered one pistol after the terror attack while the second was missing. The missing pistol was recovered from the arrested fourth suspect.