SRINAGAR: BJP state chief Ravindra Raina came out in defence of former minister Lal Singh who ‘warned’ Kashmiri journalists of Shujaat Bukhari-like fate if they did not drew their lines.
"No action will be taken against Lal Singh," Raina, a firebrand leader himself, told TNIE, adding that no such decision was taken as of now.
Lal Singh drew flak from political parties and media bodies after he made the controversial statement at a press conference in Jammu on Friday. “The journalists of Kashmir created a wrong atmosphere there. I tell them to draw a line or they will meet the fate of Bukhari,” he told the media.
Senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari was shot dead by unidentified gunmen at Srinagar’s Press Enclave on June 14.
Former Chief Minister and National Conference (NC) vice president Omar Abdullah took to Twitter to condemn Singh's threat. “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,” he tweeted. The NC has also strongly condemned Singh's threat to Kashmiri journalists.
PDP general secretary Mansoor Hussain urged Governor NN Vohra to immediately book and arrest Singh. "It is unfortunate that elements like Lal Singh are allowed to roam freely. Singh through one way or other has been trying to create communal rift. He has now launched an offensive against most important pillar of the democracy." .
Hussain said Singh's statement against the scribes is condemnable, bizarre and malicious and merits immediate action. “If he is allowed to roam freely, it will turn the situation into an inferno and have a tendency to tear apart the state's secular fabric.”
A spokesman of Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) said Singh invoked Shujaat's murder at a time when the police is investigating the case. "It indicates that he holds some information about Shujaat's murder and must be investigated. KEG reserves the right to lodge a police case against the BJP MLA," the Guild said.
Jammu and Kashmir Editors Forum and Kashmir Working Journalists Association (KWJA) also condemned Singh's threat to scribes and asked the police to take action against him.