Shujhaat Bukhari: Pakistan militants blamed for journalist death

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Shujaat BukhariImage source, Shujaat Bukhari/Twitter

Leading Indian newspaper journalist and editor Shujaat Bukhari was killed by a Pakistan-based militant outfit, police have said.

Bukhari was shot dead in Srinagar, the capital of Indian-administered Kashmir, on 14 June while leaving his office.

"Orders to kill Shujaat came from Pakistan," a policeman said, adding they had identified four suspects from the Lashkar-e-Taiba group (LeT).

The LeT has denied involvement and no other group has claimed the killing.

The LeT is one of the most feared groups fighting against Indian rule in Kashmir and is blamed for several deadly attacks on Indian soil.

Police said one of the suspects escaped from police custody in January 2018, while two of them are Indian nationals who had joined the Pakistan-based group.

A senior official told BBC Urdu's Riyaz Masroor that India and Pakistan would share evidence related to the murder as a part of a legal assistance treaty.

Bukhari, a frequent contributor to the BBC News website, was in his early 50s.

He was well respected - not just in Kashmir, but across India - and his death was widely condemned.

"In a place like Jammu and Kashmir to be reasonable needs more courage than to be an extremist on either side of the ideological trenches," Indian journalist Barkha Dutt told a television channel after the assassination.

The Himalayan region of Kashmir has been a flashpoint between India and Pakistan for decades. It is one of the most militarised zones in the world.