Rising Kashmir founding editor Shujaat Bukhari’s killing has taken a new turn after a senior police officer Thursday pointed finger at journalists claiming that Shujaat had told him that some media persons were spreading canards against him and creating a conducive atmosphere for his assassination.
Nine months after Bukhari’s killing, SSP (Security Kashmir), Imtiyaz Hussain Mir went public on social media claiming that slain Rising Kashmir founding editor had confided to him about the threat to his life.
“Shujat had confided with me how some media guys had been spreading canards against him and creating conducive atmosphere for his murder,” Mir wrote on Twitter. “We being a liberal democracy and such elements take full advantage of our liberal laws, knowing it very well that law can’t touch them.”
He wrote: “They want to silence me on social media. They are the same people who have built a case for Shujat Bukhari’s killing.”
On June 14, 2018, Bukhari, then editor-in-chief of Rising Kashmir, was assassinated outside the newspaper’s office at Press Enclave, Srinagar when he was leaving for home to break his fast during the holy month of Ramadan.
Police had also sent a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) request to Home Ministry, which was to be routed to United States through legal and treaties department of Indian Ministry of External Affairs, requesting for preserving data of Facebook and Twitter accounts of Bukhari.
The MLAT was to be followed by a Letters Rogatory for handing over the data.
The MLAT was sent to US government as J&K Police investigators believed that some people based in Kashmir and in Pakistan had exchanged messages through social media, mentioning Shujaat, which were indicative of threat to the journalist’s life.
Investigators had also questioned several Kashmir-based journalists about the case. However, none was arrested.
When contacted by Rising Kashmir, SSP Security refused to take any question on Shujaat’s murder case.
“I’m not taking any questions on this. Whatever I had to say, I said it. That is all,” he said.
Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh told Rising Kashmir that he had no discussion with Mir about his revelation regarding Shujaat’s killing.
“I’m hearing from you. I had no talks with Imtiyaz. I didn’t see Mir’s tweets. You can ask him as to what he had and what he (Shujaat) confided to him,” Singh said.
Asked whether any journalist was questioned or arrested in the case, he said he was not privy to it off hand.
“I don’t have any immediate update which I can share,” Singh said adding, “Once I get this (update), will speak on this.”
Police blamed Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants—Naveed Jhatt (a Pakistani), Muzaffar Ahmad alias Talha of Sopat Qazigund and Azad Ahmad Malik alias Dada of Arwani Bijbehara for killing Bukhari.
Jhatt and Malik were killed in separate gunfights last year.
DGP had said Jhatt was one of the prime suspects in killing of Shujaat and “if he would have been arrested alive, many more leads were possible in Shujaat killing case.”
The top cop had said this in a press conference in November last year after Jhatt was killed.