Slain Kashmiri journalist Shujaat Bukhari was likely killed as a result of the anger of anti-talks faction of the Hurriyat and ISI over his advocacy of engagement and refusal to share their strong opposition of the “Ramzan ceasefire” initiative.
Intelligence inputs have also suggested that Pakistan’s notorious Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) could have roped in Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists to kill Shujaat Bukhari.
The separatist hardliners had wanted Bukhari to accept their rejection of any peace overtures and pressure was mounted through an increasingly vitriolic campaign against the journalist, who edited ‘Rising Kashmir’, on social media, said well placed central sources. Corroborating the view that the social media attacks were an indicator of the rising anger against him, Jammu & Kashmir police sources said Bukhari was alerted nearly a month before the fatal attack on him and was asked to remain more vigilant in his movements.
According to reports, Bukhari was advised by the Hurriyat not to attend a conference in Dubai. However, he went ahead with his plans which infuriated the Hurriyat. Bukhari was even summoned by the Hurriyat to explain why he defied its orders.
The state police suspects one of the assassins caught on CCTV is Naveed Jatt, a LeT terrorist, who had escaped from a Srinagar hospital while being taken for a check-up. “We suspect that Lashkar-e-Toiba was instructed by ISI to eliminate him,” an officer said.
The Srinagar Police has sought the help of the general public to identify the suspects involved in Thursday’s attack that killed Bukhari and his two private security guards. Cops have released photographs of the suspect captured in the CCTV moments after the incident.
Bukhari’s involvement in Track-II efforts appears to have invoked the ire of Pakistan-based elements. His advocacy for an independent Kashmir at a Track-II event in Dubai and backing for Indian government’s peace initiatives in Kashmir had not gone down well with Pakistan army-ISI or terror outfits like Hizbul Mujahideen.