Kashmir-based journalists and owners of several newspapers and media houses on Tuesday unanimously sought legal action against the BJP legislator Lal Singh who had invoked the assassination of ShujaatBukhari to threaten Kashmiri journalists. The journalists marched from Press Enclave to GhantaGhar in LalChowk and staged a silent sit-in, which was organized by Kashmir Editors Guild. Veteran journalist Muhammad Syed Malik was among several senior journalists who participated in the sit-in along with their younger colleagues.
“First of all Shujaat’s murder is an irreparable shock. But the way India’s ruling class and former army officials are condoning Lal Singh’s shameful statement is even more shocking,” Syed Malik while talking to reporters. Editor of Jammu-based Kashmir Times AnuradhaBhasin expressed shock over the delay in filing an FIR against Singh. “Police is hiding behind the excuse that the permission to file a case has to be sought from the speaker and it not possible because the state is under Governor’s rule. Why the Governor himself cannot take a call on this. Even courts can take suo motto cognizance because the matter is of grave concern,” Bhasin said. She alleged that the BJP was making efforts to turn the situation in Kashmir from bad to worse. “After assassination of ShujaatBukhari, the recent threat by BJP MLA seems a ploy to create fear. We are here today united, to send a message that we are not going to tolerate all this. Today, this is our voice and will take it forward,” she said.
Bukhari was assassinated on 14 June 2018 by unidentified gunmen outside his office in Srinagar when he was leaving for Iftaar.
Sameer Showkeen, who is associated with Rising Kashmir, said, “What kind of line Lal Singh wants Kashmiri journalists to draw, that we should support him because he defended those who are jailed for raping a child. Such tactics won’t make us surrender. We will continue to do fearless journalism at any cost.”
“We strongly condemn the remarks and threat of BJP legislator ChoudharyLal Singh. Police must take the cognisance of the case and book him under relevant section of laws,” said Ishtiyaq Ahmad, senior correspondent of local news gathering news agency KNS.
BJP legislator ChoudharyLal Singh had threatened Kashmir based journalists, saying: “The journalists of Kashmir had created a wrong atmosphere in Kashmir. Now I tell journalists from Kashmir that you draw a line for your journalism, and how you want to be.”
NazirMasoodi, NDTV correspondent, said recalled Lal Sing’s earlier statement in which he had threatened Muslims in Jammu by reminding them about 1947 Muslim massacre. “It is an attack on the impartial and independent media. Action under law must follow against this BJP MLA.”
Most of the journalists used black masks to illustrate the censorship and held placards which demanded the speedy investigation into ShujaatBukhari’s murder. Shujaat’s friends and colleagues, once again, recalled the times they had spent with him, saying, and “He was a friendly, accessible, helpful and good-natured journalist.”
Earlier, the Editors Guild of India had condemned the “despicable manner” in which BJP MLA from Jammu Lal Singh issued a “barely veiled threat” to Kashmir journalists, asking Governor NN Vohra to take necessary action against Singh.