Shujaat Bukhari Murder: Police Identifies Four Accused

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SRINAGAR —The Jammu and Kashmir police on Thursday named four accused involved in the murder of noted journalist and editor Shujaat Bukhari. According to police all the accused belong to Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group.

Lashkar has already rejected police claims and has demanded an impartial probe into the murder. 

At a press conference, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, SP Pani also released photos of the accused along with details and claimed that among them included Naveed Jhat who escaped from SMHS hospital in February this year. 

He said the conspiracy to kill Shujaat was hatched in Pakistan by a Kashmiri Sheikh Sajjad Gul and was executed by three LeT militants, including Naveed Jhat.

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“Investigation has established that there was a campaign in certain Social Media platform against Shujaat Bukhari spreading hate campaign, malicious and intimidating content against him like Kashmirfight.wordpress.com and facebook account “Kadwa sach Kashmir” and twitter handler “Ahmad Khalid” ahmadkhalid@313.”

During the investigation with the cooperation of service providers tangible evidence has been collected to establish that individuals behind it belong to LeT organization and all the content on Social Media were posted from Pakistan.

“Investigation so far conducted has disclosed that the person associated with publishing malicious articles on Kashmirfight.wordpress.com is Sheikh Sajjad Gul alias Ahmad Khalid, a resident of Srinagar who is associated with LeT and is presently in Pakistan. It is established that he went to Pakistan in March 2017 on a fraudulently obtained passport which is being investigated. Earlier he was arrested in Case FIR No. 105/2016 U/S 7/25 A. Act of P.S. Parimpora in a (militant) case.”

He was also arrested in a militancy-related case in Delhi sometime in 2002 and remained in Jail also. “This part is also being investigated.”

Three attackers who escaped on a motorcycle after carrying out the attack were identified as Azad Ahmed Malik from Arwani Bijbehara, Muzafar Ahmad Bhat from Sopat Qazigund and Naveed Jatt from Pakistan, he said.

“During investigation Police has also issued pictures of three bike-borne individuals fleeing from the crime scene after committing it.”

The three attackers have been identified as Muzaffer Ahmad alias Talha.  A resident of Sopat Qazigund, he is active since January this year, Pani said.  

The second one was identified as Naveed Jatt alias Hanzullah of Pak. He is active since 2009 and recently escaped judicial custody from SMHS hospital, Pani said.

The third militant, he said, has been identified Azad Ahmad Malik alias Dada alias Zaid, of Arwani Bijbehara (LeT) and is active since December 2016 in South Kashmir. “Investigation is in progress.”

Shujaat was shot dead outside his office in Srinagar’s press enclave on June 14. Two of his personal security officers (PSOs) were also killed in the attack.

Both the United Jehad Council (UJC) and the Lashkar-e-Taiba have denied any role in the murder.  “Bukhari’s killing cannot be blamed on his detractors,” UJC head Syed Salahhuddin said on Tuesday.

Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Mehmood Shah has said government forces and their “stooges” have yet again blamed the outfit for killing Shujaat Bukhari.

“It is not a secret to anyone that Indian forces have time and again killed innocent Kashmiris, Indians and even foreign tourists to defame and demonise the mujahideen and this incident is no different,” Lashkar spokesperson Abdullah Ghaznavi, quoting Shah said in the statement sent to local news agencies in Srinagar.

“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 like China or Russia,” Mehmood Shah said, adding, “We would fully cooperate in the probe and would accept the findings of the investigating agency.”

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