SIT to probe Bukhari’s murder, suspect arrested

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 16 Jun 2018 10:00:38




A DAY after veteran journalist and ‘Rising Kashmir’ Editor Shujaat Bukhari was killed, the Jammu and Kashmir police formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the murder.  The Jammu and Kashmir police on Friday arrested a suspect in connection with the killing of Bukhari and two of his PSOs, Kashmir’s top police officer announced on Friday. The suspect has been identified as Zubair Qadri, Inspector General (IG) Kashmir Swayam Prakash Pani said at a hurriedly called press conference. Pani also described the killing of the journalist as a “terror attack”.

He said Qadri was seen in the video stealing the pistol of the PSO who was shot dead along with Bukhari. “The pistol has since been recovered and he is being questioned about his presence at the scene of the crime. So far, he has not been able to give any convincing answers,” he said. Pani added that the State police had formed a SIT under Deputy Inspector General (central Kashmir) V K Virdi to probe the killing of the editor of Rising Kashmir on Thursday.The identity of the other three attackers was being ascertained, the police official said.

Bukhari was on Friday laid to rest in his ancestral village with thousands of friends and admirers braving heavy rain to mourn a veteran journalist, who had championed peace in times of conflict and may have been killed for it. As preparations were under way for the funeral procession ofthe journalist, readers of the Rising Kashmir woke up to a paper with its front page carrying a full-page black and white photograph of its editor-in-chief against a black background. The Rising Kashmir, which hit the stands as usual, also carried the message that it would not be cowed by cowards who had snatched him from them.

“You left all too sudden but you will always be our leading light with your professional conviction and exemplary courage. We won’t be cowed down by the cowards who snatched you from us. We will uphold your principle of telling the truth howsoever unpleasant it may be...Rest in peace!” the paper said. The message found wide echo as crowds of tearful mourners from across the Valley followed the cortege through the streets of this sleepy hamlet in Baramulla district, a short distance from Srinagar. Amongst those who took part in the last rites of the journalist and visited his ancestral home to condole with the family were opposition leader Omar Abdullah and ministers from the PDP and the BJP. It was probably the biggest funeral procession the village had seen, observers said. There was a traffic jam in the area as the crowds of mourners swelled. Bukhari, 50, was gunned down yesterday evening soon after he got into his car from his office at Press Enclave in the city centre, Lal Chowk, on his way to an iftar party.

Bukhari, whose killing came just two days ahead of Eid, was instrumental in organising several conferences for peace in the Kashmir Valley. He was also part of the Track II process with Pakistan. He is survived by his wife and two children, a son and a daughter. According to Omar Abdullah, the Rising Kashmir had published a fitting tribute to its editor. “The show must go on. As Shujaat would have wanted it to. This is today’s @RisingKashmir issue. That Shujaat’s colleagues were able to bring out the paper in the face of insurmountable grief is a testament to their professionalism & the most fitting tribute to their late boss,” the former chief minister wrote on Twitter while sharing a picture of the front page of the paper.