New Delhi: Several media bodies, including the Press Club of India, on Sunday sought strict action against senior BJP leader Choudhary Lal Singh over his “threatening and intimidating” remarks directed at Kashmiri journalists.
In a joint statement, the Indian Women’s Press Corps, Press Club of India, Press Association and Federation of Press Clubs of India said, “We, the undersigned organisations demand that strict action be taken against the lawmaker for making threatening remarks hinting possible violence at journalists in the valley. Such statements are nothing short of criminal intimidation and a direct attack on the freedom of the press. They also serve to vitiate atmosphere and endanger the lives of journalists who work and live precariously in conflict situations.”
Singh, former minister in the Mehbooba Mufti-led Jammu and Kashmir government, had warned Kashmiri journalists to draw a line between reporting facts and supporting militants or face the fate of Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari, who was shot dead by unknown gunmen.
“Kashmiri journalists have created an erroneous atmosphere and I would like to ask them to draw the line,” he had told reporters in Jammu on Friday.
“You want to live like what happened to Basharat,” he said in an apparent reference to Shujaat Bukhari.
Shujaat Bukhari’s brother Basharat Bukhari is a PDP leader and was the law minister in the PDP-BJP government, of which Singh had been a part, before the BJP withdrew from the alliance last week.
“Take care of yourselves and draw a line so that the brotherhood is not broken and it is maintained so that progress and development (of the state) is ensured,” Singh said