First Arrest in Shujaat Bukhari's Killing Made After Video Shows Suspect Picking up Gun From Spot
The video shows the man in white picking up the pistol of Bukhari’s personal security officer, who was also killed, and then vanishing from the spot.
Srinagar: The Special Investigation Team formed to probe the killing of veteran journalist Shujaat Bukhari has made the first arrest in the case – a man who was caught on camera minutes after the shooting checking on the dead bodies and then taking the pistol of Bukhari’s personal security officer.
DIG Swayam Prakash said at a news conference that the arrest was made with the help of the public after cops released his photograph and the video on social media.
The video showed the bearded man dressed in white checking on bodies in the car in which Bukhari was travelling and then taking the pistol. The man then mysteriously vanished from the spot.
Cops believe that he holds a key link to the attack. Intelligence agencies suspect LeT terrorists were behind the attack on Bukhari, who was the editor of Rising Kashmir and a vociferous supporter of the peace process. The DIG said that the clothes that the man was wearing in the video and the gun have been recovered.
Srinagar Police had also released CCTV grabs of the alleged attackers, seeking public help to identify the accused. The CCTV footage showed three masked bike-borne assailants. Their guns were in a sack that was held by one of them, authorities said.
According to police, one attacker resembles LeT terrorist Naveed Jatt while the other two suspects are believed to be Mehrajuddin Bangroo and Waza.
Bangroo is one the most wanted militants belonging to downtown Srinagar and is also one of the main recruiters involved in killings of security forces, authorities said.
Jatt, who dramatically escaped from Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital (SMHS) in Srinagar on February 6, has been the face behind several attacks on security forces in Kashmir and is also under the radar of the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
As an active member of several conferences across the globe, Bukhari had travelled to Europe as part of the Track II diplomacy. The practice was said to be re-launched to bring about peaceful dialogue between India and Pakistan.
In recent weeks, he had strongly backed the internal ceasefire announced by New Delhi for Ramzan.
Top intelligence sources told CNN-News18 that the killing was the handiwork of the ISI as the Pakistan-based organisation was unhappy with Bukhari’s writings and his participation in the Track II diplomacy.
Last month, Bukhari also attended a seminar on Kashmir held in Islamabad. In May this year, Bukhari was part of the Global Editors Summit held in Lisbon. The event brought together at least 100 editors and media practitioners from all over the world.
Bukhari, editor-in-chief of Rising Kashmir newspaper, was shot dead in his car outside his office at the Press Colony. He was accompanied by his personal security guards, who were also killed.
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