The police say Pakistan-based terrorist outfits are behind the killing of journalist Shujaat Bukhari in the heart of Srinagar on Thursday.
His two personal security officers were also killed in the attack.
Mr. Bukhari, 50, Editor of the Rising Kashmir newspaper and a contributor to Frontline magazine, was shot dead outside his office by suspected terrorists on Thursday evening ahead of Id-ul-Fitr.
“The prime suspect is Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), but it could be the handiwork of a combination of other terror outfits. We will nail Pakistan on this,” a top government official told The Hindu .
Mr. Bukhari had been The Hindu ’s correspondent in Srinagar from 1997 to 2012.
Another government official said Mr. Bukhari could have become a target for supporting the “cease-ops”, or suspension of operation (SoO), announced by the Centre ahead of Ramzan on May 16.
The police said he had not complained of any threat in the past few days. “It was a meticulously planned attack. He was attacked at a spot close to his office where there was no CCTV coverage,” the official said. He said they had definite leads and would crack the case soon.
Rajnath meets Modi
On Friday, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh met Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The agenda of the meeting was not known, but officials said that Mr. Bukhari’s killing and the prospects of the extension of the SoO or otherwise were discussed.
Mr. Singh had told The Hindu on Thursday that “there is not an iota of doubt” that terrorists killed Mr. Bukhari.
The SoO is effective till Saturday and officials said that any formal decision on it would be conveyed on June 17.
A Cabinet Minister who did not wish to be identified said that all limits had been crossed with Mr. Bukhari’s killing. “We have reached a threshold, now there will be a crackdown,” he said.
On Friday, JeM released a video clip of Aurangzeb, a rifleman attached to the Rashtriya Rifles. He was abducted and killed by terrorists in Gasu village of Pulwama while on his way home on leave to celebrate Id with his family on Thursday. The video that was shot before he was killed shows him sitting under a tree. The person who is shooting the video asks Aurangzeb whether he was part of the team led by Major Rohit Shukla that killed Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Sameer Tiger in April.