The Jammu and Kashmir police have identified the mastermind behind the murder of Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari, The Times of India reported on Thursday. The news comes after three of the terrorists were identified, the report added.
According to the report, the terrorist, identified as Sajjad Gul, is a native of Kashmir, who has now settled in Rawalpindi. He is reported to have masterminded Bukhari’s murder on the orders of the LeT. He had also completed an MBA from Bengaluru and worked as a laboratory technician before turning to terrorism.
He was actively involved in terror-related activities and served a jail term each in Srinagar Central jail and Tihar, according to his police file. “His first-hand knowledge about native journalists came in handy for the LeT,” sources said.
The “kill” order came from LeT chief Hafiz Saeed and Gul assigned the job to local militants he personally selected. Bukhari, editor-in-chief of Srinagar-based English daily Rising Kashmir, had angered Lashkar and other Pakistan-controlled terror groups by supporting the Ramzan truce announced by the Centre . Sources said his murder was part of a larger plot, prepared in March after the appointment of former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma as J&K interlocutor, to target those who supported efforts for peace.
All three terrorists, including a Pakistani, who killed senior Kashmiri journalist Syed Shujaat Bukhari and his two security officers on June 14, have been identified, J&K police sources said on Wednesday.
Two of the terrorists are local Kashmiri cadres of Lashkar-e-Tioba (LeT), while the third one has been identified as Pakistani national Naveed Jutt, the sources said.
The then editor-in-chief of The Rising Kashmir was leaving for home when they fired indiscriminately at his vehicle outside his office at Mushtaq Enclave in Press Colony of Srinagar’s Partap Park. He along with two personal security officers (PSOs) suffered grievous wounds. The three were rushed to a hospital where they were declared dead.
A dreaded Pakistani LeT commander, who had confessed to having met the 26/11 attacker Ajmal Kasab in a training camp in Pakistan, Jutt had pulled off a dramatic escape from Srinagar’s Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital after his associates shot dead two policemen accompanying him for a medical checkup and investigations on February 6.
After scanning CCTV footage, which showed three men – one wearing a helmet, another wearing a mask and the third one hiding his face — riding a motorbike, the police zeroed in on them. The terrorists hiding his face has been identified as Naveed Jutt.
Officially, the police is tight-lipped over the identification, saying the investigation is still on. “Some sections of the media is running a story related to the Press Enclave terror incident in Srinagar. It is to clarify that the police has so far not released any press release pertaining to the investigation. We seek the cooperation of the media for this”, tweeted the Kashmir Zone Police.