Plot to Kill Bukhari Hatched in Pakistan, Executed by Lashkar : Police

New Delhi, June 29: The murder of veteran journalist Shujaat Bukhari was plotted in Pakistan by terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jammu and Kashmir police claimed in a press conference on Thursday.

J&K police also revealed names of the four LeT operatives, who it alleged plotted and executed the murder of Kashmiri journalist Shujaat Bukhari and two police constables who were provided for his personal security.

Sajjad Gul, Azad Ahmad Malik, Muzzaffar Ahmad and Naveed Jutt were the four LeT operatives named by police to be behind Bukhari’s murder. The police also released the photos of the suspects.

Also Read | Lashkar terrorist among three identified for involvement in Bukhari’s killing: Police

Sajjad Gul, a Kashmiri who sneaked into Pakistan in March 2017, was the first of the accused. “He was earlier arrested by Delhi police and J&K police for various crimes. And then in March 2017 we believe he fled the country for Pakistan,” SP Pani, IGP Kashmir said.

He added that the police had “tangible evidence” that he was behind the social media smear and intimidation campaigns run against Shujaat Bukhari.

“We are in process of moving the courts to secure non-bailable warrants against the four accused and to seek Interpol Red Corner notice issued for the accused residing in Pakistan,” Pani said.

The other big name was of Naveed Jutt, who escaped police custody from SMHS hospital in February this year. It was on the basis of some “protected witnesses and evidence”, Pani said, that the police had had revealed the names of the four accused.

Police was also probing the role of one Zubair, who was arrested after a video showed him picking up the gun of one of the slain constables. The pistol and some mobile phones were found in his possession. The revelations made by police on Thursday pointed to the role of Pakistan, as was long being suspected, for having orchestrated the whole crime. Several reports published on the incidents have claimed that Bukhari, a proponent for peace in the valley, was killed on the orders of Hafiz Saeed.

Bukhari, the editor-in-chief of Rising Kashmir editor was killed by three motorcycle borne assailants on June 14.

Meanwhile, LeT has issued a statement dissociating itself from the murders of the three people.

“We would like to call their (Indian Army’s) bluff. If Indian forces are truly convinced that this heinous crime was committed by mujahideen, then they should have no objection to an independent investigation of this murder by a neutral country such as China or Russia,” said LeT chief Mahmood Shah in an email statement to a Kashmir news agency.

Bukhari’s murder, which happened a day before Eid, sparked international outrage among journalists and public figures. Reporters from across the country and in Kashmir have held several protests to mark their anger at the targeting of a journalist.

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