In a major success in the investigation of the murder of journalist Shujaat Bukhari in Srinagar, the Jammu and Kashmir Police on Wednesday identified 3 terrorists responsible for the murder, as well as the mastermind of the plan, who is a recruiter for the Lashkar-e-Toiba militant group.
According to reports, from the 3 terrorists, 2 are locals while the third is a Pakistani national identified as Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Naveed Jatt who escaped from police custody earlier this year from the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital in Srinagar. The 2 locals are believed to be belonging to one of the villages in south Kashmir.
Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir police has identified 48-year-old Lashkar-e-Toiba recruiter Sajjad Gul as the mastermind behind the murder of senior Kashmiri journalist Shujaat Bukhari on June 14. Sources quoted by TOI said that Gul is a native of Kashmir and a management graduate who crossed over to Pakistan 5 years ago and is settled in Rawalpindi in Pakistan.
The order to kill Bukhari reportedly came from LeT chief Hafiz Saeed himself after which Gul assigned the task to local militants he had personally selected. Bukhari, the editor-in-chief of the ‘Rising Kashmir’ daily had reportedly angered LeT and other Pakistan-controlled terror groups by supporting the Ramzan truce called by the Centre.
“The order to execute Bukhari was given by the Lashkar-e-Taiba chief and only an extremely small group of members was involved,” an intelligence officer told TOI.
However, the Lashkar-e-Toiba has denied responsibility for the murder of Bukhari.
Veteran journalist Shujaat Bukhari was shot dead, along with his security guards, by unidentified gunmen outside the Rising Kashmir office in Srinagar on June 14. CCTV footage of the shooters was released soon after to help identify and nab the culprits.