Police said initial probe has revealed ISI was involved in Shujaat Bukhari’s killing to derail the Centre’s peace process.
The gruesome murder of prominent Kashmiri journalist Shujaat Bukhari, outside his Press Enclave office in the heart of Srinagar, has left the media fraternity in the valley fretting about their safety. Questions are also being raised about the continuity of the peace process in Kashmir after the fatal attack on Bukhari, who was apparently a part of Track II diplomacy with Pakistan.
Bukhari was a strong advocate of the peace process. The CCTV footages from around Press Enclave have shown three young boys on a motorcycle fleeing the spot. The police said that the initial leads suggest the ISI and other Pakistani agencies were involved in the journalist’s killing. Bukhari, editor-in-chief of well-read local English daily, Rising Kashmir, and his two personal security officers were shot multiple times when they entered their car, about to head home on Thursday evening, minutes before iftar. Bukhari died on the spot, invoking heart-felt condemnation of the incident from Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who visited the bereaved family; state opposition leaders, national leaders, media persons in India and abroad, and the intelligentsia. His funeral took place on Friday in his native village Kreeri, amid a sea of mourners.
Bukhari’s murder follows the killing of two Pulwama based policemen and Army jawan Aurangzeb in Shopian at the hands of terrorists. Although the public mood is in favour of the continuation of the Ramzan ceasefire, the chain of fatal attacks, at a time when the Centre is preparing ground for the dialogue process, is being seen as a desperate attempt on part of the terrorists to derail the peace process. It is after 2008 that any journalist in Kashmir has been killed in a terrorist attack. In all the previous cases of attacks on journalists in Kashmir, police closed the probe blaming terrorists.