The cold-blooded murder of Shujaat Bhukhari has not just shocked the world, but also given rise to a number of debates, the most important one being – who killed the senior journalist and editor-in-chief of Rising Kashmir? Investigations into the killing are ongoing and a special investigation team has been formed for the probe.
Until now, the police have managed to lay their hands on several clues, including the CCTV grab of the suspects.
While it was earlier thought that the three bike-borne men were the people behind the murder, a fourth suspect has also emerged in the case. The man, identified as Zubair Qadri, was spotted in a video from the site of the murder and is seen checking the bodies of Bukhari's PSOs and going through the contents of the car.
The video, said to be taken by a passerby, then goes on to show him retrieving a pistol and disappearing from the scene. The J&K police then released an image of the bearded man, requesting residents for help, and he has now been arrested.
"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," Hindustan Times quoted inspector general of police Swayam Prakash Pani as saying.
Meanwhile, the police are also probing an angle that Pakistan's ISI could have tasked terrorists to target Bukhari. "My assessment is that it has been done by ISI. Rest, the investigation will find out," Lt Gen A K Bhatt (Corps Commander 15 Corps) told the media.
ISI's role has been suspected by many others in the case and some even said that the LeT could have been behind the murder, at the behest of Pakistan's intelligence agency.
Speaking of why ISI would murder Bukhari, security agencies said that they believe stalling the panchayat elections could be one of the motives, reported Deccan Herald. The polls have been pending since 2016 after they were postponed due to Hijbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani's killing.
The polls were then set to take place in February 2018, but the plans were again disrupted by security issues in the state.
Pakistan demands probe
Pakistan is now demanding a thorough investigation in Bukhari's killing and even went on to say that he could have been killed over his tweet on a UN High Commission for Human Rights (UNHCHR) report on alleged human rights violation in Kashmir, which was released hours before his murder on June 14.
This demand comes despite reports that the three killers could be ISI-backed.
In a tweet, Pakistan foreign ministry spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said, "Kashmiri journalist Shujaat Bukhari's targeted killing within hours of his tweet on the OHCHR report on Jammu & Kashmir — terrible coincidence, raises serious questions — India should investigate and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice."
Veteran journalist and editor-in-chief of Rising Kashmir Shujaat Bukhari was shot dead on June 14 by three bike-borne assailants just when he had stepped out of his office at Press Colony and was on the way home for Iftaar. The assailants are said to have emptied their magazines and his car bore chilling bullet marks.