Srinagar, June 24 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, the media fraternity and political parties have condemned the latest statement of BJP leader, Lal Singh, and termed it an open threat to journalists of Kashmir and attack on freedom of press.

Lal Singh addressing a press conference in Jammu had said that Kashmiri journalists seemed to be waiting to be killed just as Shujaat Bukhari was. Shujaat Bukhari, Editor of daily Rising Kashmir, was killed along with his two security guards by unknown gunmen outside his office in Srinagar on June 14, 2018.

The Kashmir Journalists Association (KJA) in a statement in Srinagar strongly condemned the statement of Lal Singh and said that the journalists didn’t need any lessons. “KJA feels that Singh’s statement is an open threat to journalists in Kashmir as his role was questionable in the past also when he was removed for supporting the culprits in the brutal gang-rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua earlier this year,” the KJA statement read. It demanded strict action against Lal Singh.

Kashmir Editors Guild in a statement termed Lal Singh’s remarks criminal. It said that Singh had graduated from making controversial remarks in the past to issuing a direct threat to the media in Kashmir. “Singh’s statement indicates that he has some information about Shujaat’s murder and (this aspect) must be investigated,” the statement said. The KEG said it reserves the right to file a police case against Singh.

The Kashmir Working Journalists Association took strong exception to the statement of Lal Singh. “From Singh’s press conference, it looks evident he is privy to the circumstances under which Shujaat Bukhari has been assassinated, so we ask Police Chief to approach Singh in connection with the case so as to unmask the killers,” the KSJA Secretary, Samaan Lateef, said in a statement.

Nasir Gilani, senior Correspondent at Kashmir Monitor, during a discussion with other journalists at Press Enclave said, “The investigation in this matter is still going on and how can Lal Singh know the reason behind the killing (of Bukhari). This is very unfortunate.” He added, “It is an insult to the journalists of Kashmir. We should raise voice against this assault on freedom of the press.”

The pro-India National Conference leader and former puppet Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, tweeted, “Dear journalists, your colleagues in Kashmir just got threatened by a BJP MLA. It seems Shujaat’s death is now a tool for goons to use to threaten other journalists.”

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