Kashmir’s BJP MLA issues chilling threats to journalists: Behave or meet same fate as that of Shujaat Bukhari

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In a chilling threat to journalists,  BJP’s controversial MLA in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday warned media persons working in the valley to behave or meet the same fate as that of slain journalist Shujaat Bukhari.

Shujaat Bukhari

Addressing a press conference to demand a CBI probe into Kathua gang-rape and murder case, BJP MLA Lal Singh said, “These journalists in Kashmir had created a (bad) atmosphere. I would like to tell journalists in Kashmir ‘you must also draw a line. Decide how you would like to live. Do you want to live how Bashaarat (Shujaat). Therefore, control yourself and draw a line so that the friendship continues and it doesn’t get disturbed.”

Taking strong note of Singh’s chilling threats to journalists, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted, “Dear journalists, your colleagues in Kashmir just got threatened by a @BJP4India MLA. It seems Shujaat’s death is now a tool for goons to use to threaten other journalists.”

Singh’s threats assume significance for two reasons. One it sounds like an admission by Singh that people behind the assassination of Bukhari may have been his supporters or he appears to know the journalist’s killers. Second, journalists working in Kashmir, deemed as one of the most hostile regions in the world for media persons, can’t afford to take his threats lightly given that the the state is now being directly controlled by the Centre’s BJP government through the Governor’s rule.

Bukhari, a senior journalist, was killed by unknown assailants earlier this month. He was assassinated just hours after he made his displeasure known to one A Ranganathan, who was a given a platform by a think tank group, ORF, to vilify the slain journalist in his absence.

Bukhari had written, “It is unfortunate that a credible think tank like @orfonline should allow this diatribe in absence of the person referred to. In #Kashmir we have done Journalism with pride and will continue to highlight what happens on ground. @samirsaran.”

Ranganathan, who’s associated with at least two websites, where he frequently writes his political commentaries, is often deemed to carry incredibly biased views in favour of the BJP. As for Lal Singh, he was one of the two MLA, who attended the Hindutva rally organised in support of the rapists and the murderers of the 8-year-old child in Kathua.

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