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'Draw the Line': BJP Leader Lal Singh Threatens Kashmiri Journalists, Refers to Shujaat Bukhari's Killing

Singh was asked to resign from the cabinet in April after he participated in a rally in support of the accused in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua.

Updated:June 24, 2018, 7:15 AM IST
'Draw the Line': BJP Leader Lal Singh Threatens Kashmiri Journalists, Refers to Shujaat Bukhari's Killing
File photo of former minister Choudhary Lal Singh. (PTI)
New Delhi: Referring to the assassination of veteran journalist Shujaat Bukhari, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Choudhary Lal Singh warned journalists in Kashmir to “draw the line” while reporting on the Kathua rape and murder case.

Addressing a press conference on Friday, Singh said, “Now I will tell Kashmiri journalists to draw a line on the journalism you do and how you have to live. Do you have to live like what happened to Basharat, so that such a situation emerges?”

He added, “So draw a line so that this brotherhood remains intact and there is progress.” Basharat Bukhari is the brother of slain Rising Kashmir editor-in-chief Shujaat Bukhari, who was gunned down outside his office by three bike-borne assailants on June 14.

This is not the first time that he has courted controversy. Singh, who was the forest minister in the previous PDP-BJP government, was asked to resign in April after he participated in a rally to support the accused in the Kathua rape and murder case.

His latest controversial remarks came just a day before BJP chief Amit Shah's rally in Jammu, his first visit to the state after ending the alliance with the PDP.

Journalists in Kashmir has decided to approach Governor NN Vohra against Singh, demanding that strict action be taken against the BJP leader for the apparent threat. They said that Singh had earlier too blamed journalists for his sacking as a minister in the state government.

Singh’s statement has also evoked criticism from leaders cutting across party lines.

Former chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah took to Twitter to say: “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.”

Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “Will Amit Shahji answer today in his rally if journalists in J&K have to fall in line for not being assasinated like Shujat Bukhari and only then ‘bhaichara’ will be ensured.”

Attacking Singh, Panthers Party leader Harsh Dev Singh said the BJP was frustrated with the loss of power.

“The BJP is completely frustrated with the loss of power and they know their prospects are over forever. What kind of line does Singh want the journalists of Kashmir to draw? Stop making such silly statements that only make you an object of ridicule,” he said.

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