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Shujaat Bukhari

Conspiracy to kill journalist Shujaat Bukhari hatched in Pakistan: Police

Srinagar | There is tangible evidence to establish that the conspiracy to kill journalist Shujaat Bukhari was hatched by Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) in Pakistan and their cadres of the banned outfit including Naveed Jatt had executed the plan, a top police official said here on Thursday.

Inspector General of Police Kashmir S P Pani said while a Srinagar resident based in Pakistan had started an online campaign against the slain journalist, three Lashkar militants Jatt, Muzaffar Ahmad, and Azad Malik carried out the killing.

“There were rumours about the accused persons in the public domain after the incident. There were pictures of the three suspects that were released.

“Now we have got evidence to confirm the identity of these three individuals as Azad Malik, Muzaffar Ahmad (both residents of south Kashmir) and Naveed Jatt. These three are now wanted by law,” he said.

Identifying the fourth accused as Sajad Gul, who fled India on a passport in March last year, Pani said the investigation team will follow the due course of law to bring them to book.

There was a series of social media campaign in which online platforms were used which were intimidating at times, he said, adding five to six posts came.

“Apart from that, there was a facebook (page) and a twitter handle @ahmadkhalid. The investigation has revealed and we have tangible evidence that these were done from Pakistan,” Pani said.

The location provided by the service providers show that these belong to Pakistan and they are part of the LeT conspiracy,” he added.

Pani said Gul had earlier been arrested by Delhi police in 2003 and later by Srinagar police in 2016 for other terror-related cases but managed to “fraudulently” obtain a passport and flee the country last year.

He said the investigation has so far established that this “terror crime” was committed by “proscribed terror organisation LeT. The conspiracy was hatched in Pakistan and execution was done by the three accused”.

“Henceforth, we will approach the competent court and obtain a nonbailable warrant against the accused. Also, we will take all measures like lookout notice and in case of need Interpol red (corner) notice because one of the accused is in Pakistan. He left our country,” he added.

Pani said this was an important case and the investigators are going to focus on all the evidence they have.

“There will also be a situation where a transfer of evidence has to be done through the mutual legal assistance treaty,” he said.

Asked about the involvement of another suspect Zubair Qayoom who was arrested two days after the 14 June incident, the IGP said at this stage his role is also being investigated.

“Two things are the pistol recovered from him that he had taken from the scene of the crime, two mobile phones were recovered from his possession, and he had tried to conceal his clothes and other things,” he added.

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