A YEAR on, the final chargesheet is yet to be filed in the case of the murder of journalist Shujaat Bukhari whose first death anniversary was observed in Srinagar on Friday.
Bukhari (51), editor of the daily Rising Kashmir, was gunned down outside his office in Srinagar on June 14 last year and two of his personal security officers were also killed in the attack. A memorial was held in his memory by Rising Kashmir, the news organisation Bukhari established and led, marked by the release of a book — Kashmir’s Thin Red Lines — collating his writing.
Senior police officials told The Indian Express, that the investigation has “almost been completed” and the final chargesheet “will be filed soon”.
In its preliminary chargesheet, the police had claimed that they had “tangible evidence to establish” that the conspiracy to kill Bukhari was hatched by the Lashkar-e-Toiba in Pakistan, and executed by its operatives in the Valley.
Naveed Jatt alias Hanzullah, a Pakistani militant who was named as a prime suspect in the case was killed in an encounter with security forces in November last year. Police had also named two local militants, Muzaffar Ahmad alias Talha from Qazigund, and Azad Ahmad Malik alias Dada, the LeT’s former district commander in Anantnag, who was also killed in an encounter with forces last year.
J&K police officials also stated that a fourth accused, Sajjad Gul, formerly a resident of Srinagar who is suspected to be living in Pakistan, as the person behind a “malicious” social media campaign against Bukhari. The investigators had sought assistance from Interpol and the issuance of a red corner notice in order to nab him. Officials said that “certain procedural requirements were taking time in the filing of the chargesheet.”
Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti took to twitter to commemorate the anniversary of Bukhari’s killing and said, “Remembering Shujaat Bukhari on his first death anniversary. Shujaat wasnt just a brilliant journalist but a true peacenik who bravely embarked on a crusade for peace only to be martyred for his beliefs. His legacy lives on in his children.”
Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq also hailed BUkhari’s courage, “Remembering dear Shujaat Bukhari on his first death anniversary, a courageous man an influential journalist, an exceptional human being and above all a well wisher of his people.What beautiful souls we lost to this conflict!” He said.
Meanwhile, several journalists bodies of Kashmir, including the Kashmir Editor’s Guild and the Kashmir Press Club paid tributes to Bukhari on his first death anniversary.