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Shujaat Bukhari’s killers being identified

Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari.

Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari.   | Photo Credit: The Hindu Archives

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Mr. Bukhari was killed along with his two police guards outside his office on June 14.

The Jammu & Kashmir police have laid hands on “vital clues” in the assassination of Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari in the Kashmir Valley.

A top official told The Hindu that the three armed men riding a bike, captured on several CCTV cameras in the busy Lal Chowk in Srinagar on the day of assassination on June 14, are “being identified.”

 

“A picture of a Kulgam-based militant resembles the bespectacled pillion-rider. The confirmation requires more human intelligence and technical support,” said the official.

The police said they are working on “sure leads” that two armed assassins were ‘locals’ and the third one was a ‘foreigner.’

“The face of the bike driver, wearing a helmet, is hidden. The two armed men ensured to hide the face of the third pillion-rider, who may not be a local,” said the police.

The CCTV footage assembled from several locations are being “pieced together” to “trace the route used” and “identify the militants.”

The police claimed that the gunmen used the busy Jehangeer Chowk to reach Regal Chowk before entering into the Press Colony.

The CCTV footage shows militants raising slogans after killing Bukhari and running towards the bike parked in Regal Chowk, “as they used the Barbar Shah road” to escape the city centre.

“One of them has a striking resemblance to escaped Lashkar-e-Taiba militant Naveed Jutt,” another official said. “The black band on the wrist, his body make-up and the muscular biceps point to Jutt. However, the identification is still the subject of investigation,” he added.

It is reliably learnt that a hard drive has been sent outside J&K to retrieve “lost” CCTV footage of the spot where Bukhari was killed with automatic weapons fired from three sides, “using at least 60 high-calibre bullets.”

A senior police official told The Hindu the investigators are hoping for a major break through the arrested militant from Kulgam. “One LeT militant was arrested from a Kulgam encounter site three days ago. One local and one foreigner were killed in the operation. We expect him to help us crack the case,” said the official.

Bukhari was killed along with his two police guards outside his office on June 14, evoking criticism from editors and journalists.

An unknown blogger, running ‘Kashmirfight’ blog, is also under the scanner in the case. The blogger ran “a smear campaign against Bukhari ahead of his killing”, said a police official.

“The blog seems to be run from across the border,” said the official.

Both the United Jehad Council (UJC) and the LeT have denied any role in the assassination.

“Bukhari’s killing cannot be blamed on his detractors,” said UJC head Syed Salahhuddin on Tuesday.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 8:33:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/shujaat-bukhari-murder-gunmen-identified-says-jk-police/article24270569.ece

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