Jammu and Kashmir police on Wednesday, June 27, claimed to have identified killers of senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari.
“We have identified the attackers,” a top police officer privy to the investigation told The Indian Express (IE). “Two of them are local militants from south Kashmir while the third one is from Pakistan”.
“The case has been solved and all the attackers identified,” said a report in the Hindustan Times, quoting a senior police officer.
Police sources say that the Pakistani militant involved in the attack is Naveed Jatt, who escaped from police custody from Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital in February this year. Naveed, a Pakistani national, is associated with Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).
Police sources say they have also identified the Pakistan-based blogger who had “started a smear campaign” against Bukhari. They say the blogger is a militant from Srinagar, who is settled in Pakistan, said the IE report.
Soon after the attack, police released CCTV grabs of the attackers, who were riding a motorcycle. While one of the attackers was wearing a helmet, the other had worn a mask.
Police later arrested a youth who had stolen the pistol from one of Bukhari’s guards. However, police said that the youth Zubair Qadri was a drug addict and he had no role in attack.
A special investigation team headed by DIG Srinagar of Jammu and Kashmir Police reportedly identified three men on the basis of security camera recordings and technical and human intelligence.
No militant organisation had taken responsibility for the attack.
While police blamed Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) for the attack, Lashkar has denied its complicity in the attack terming it an act of “Indian agencies”, reported IE.
Bukhari, 48, the editor-in-chief of Rising Kashmir, was attacked by three gunmen on a motorcycle while he was in his car outside his office in Srinagar’s press enclave. His two security guards were also killed as bullets were sprayed at them
A journalist for three decades, Shujaat Bukhari had worked for 15 years at The Hindu and was known in the state and the rest of the country as an important Kashmiri voice.