On motive of killing, police say: can’t say
SRINAGAR: After two weeks of investigation into the murder of senior journalist and editor-in-chief Rising Kashmir Shujaat Bukhari, the J&K Police are still unable to say what was the motive behind the killing.
“I cannot tell you at this time about the motive of the militants who committed this terror crime. The motive will be mentioned in the chargesheet,” Kashmir Inspector General of Police SP Pani told reporters in response to a question on whether Bukhari was killed for being a journalist. “The conspiracy to kill Shujaat was hatched in Pakistan by a Kashmiri, Sheikh Sajjad Gul, and was executed by three LeT militants, including Naveed Jatt. This is what we have found so far,” Pani said.
Pani was flanked at the presser by Special Investigation Team head Deputy Inspector General Central Kashmir VK Birdi and SSP Srinagar Imtiyaz Ismail. The officers said that the four militants have been identified as Sheikh Sajjad Gul, a Srinagar resident currently based in Pakistan, Azad Ahmed Malik alias Dada, a resident of Arwani Bijbhera and active in LeT since December 2016, Muzaffar Ahmad alias Talha from Sopat Qazigund, and Naveed Jatt from Pakistan.
“Sajjad has been found to be using the blog which spread a vicious campaign against Shujaat. We have evidence. The rest have executed the murder in Kashmir… During the investigation, with the cooperation of service providers, tangible evidence has been collected to establish that individuals behind it belong to LeT organisation and all the content on social media were posted from Pakistan,” Pani said.
Pani said that Sajjad Gul crossed over to Pakistan in March 2017 on a fraudulently obtained passport. Gul has been named as key conspirator behind the assassination of Bukhari.
According to Pani, Gul had called Bukhari as a traitor in his blog. The Lashkar has condemned Bukhari’s killing and called him a martyr who was killed by Indian agencies.
Bukhari was killed on June 14 by three men outside his office at Press Enclave Srinagar. Two of his PSOs were also killed in the attack. The senior journalist had been attending Track II conferences for achieving peace in Kashmir.
Pani said the investigation has so far established that this “terror crime” was committed by LeT. “The conspiracy was hatched in Pakistan and execution was done by the three accused” and added it was an important case and the investigators are going to focus on all the evidence they have”.
“There will also be a situation where transfer of evidence has to be done through the mutual legal assistance treaty,” he said.
Asked about the involvement of another suspect Zubair Qayoom, who was arrested two days after the 14 June incident, the IGP said at this stage his role is also being investigated.
“Two things are there — the pistol was recovered from him that he had taken from the scene of crime, two mobile phones were recovered from his possession, and he had tried to conceal his clothes and other things,” he added.