The Kashmir police have identified the killers of Shujaat Bukhari and official statement to this effect will be out soon. Among the killers are two locals and a Pakistani terrorist, Naved Jutt alias Abu Hanzala. Jutt, it may be recalled had escaped from jail recently.
While these the persons who carried out the killing, more importantly it is the masterminds from Pakistan who are on the radar. From the style in which the attack was carried out, it became clear that it was an ISI ordered hit carried out by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba.
In the run up to the killing of Bukhari, there were various bloggers and posts that had come under the scanner. The ISI and the pro-Pakistan bloggers were upset that Bukhari was part of the Track-II diplomacy. These bloggers referred to these persons as the betrayers of the struggle for Kashmir.
The ISI was upset at the diplomatic and pro-India approach taken by the likes of Bukhari and hence felt that the killing must be carried out to instil a sense of fear. In the run up to the murder, these bloggers put up posts with an intention to warn those speaking India's language.
During the investigations, a blog called kashmirfight.wordpress.com came under the scanner of the agencies. The blog which is being run by a Srinagar based persons settled in Pakistan has several inflammatory posts.
One such post specific to journalists posted on the blog is known as 'India infiltration through media houses to promote Indian version of Kashmir struggle." This post in fact has two parts to it. The post hits out at journalists in the Valley who are speaking India's language. While it names several journalists, it says it would begin with Bukhari.
The post says that Bukhari possessed nothing except a daily wager job of reporter at Kashmir Times. The post accused him of secretly working like an informer using journalism as a cover. Further the blog post accuses him of getting Rs 22 crore from the Indian Home Ministry to start Rising Kashmir, the newspaper, he was the editor of.
Following the death of Bukhari, the blogger once again targeted him and said while the incident needs to be condemned, an individual's past actions cannot be washed away by his demise.
Prior to his death, Bukhari had even complained to the police about the blog. While no action was initiated back then, now the agencies are trying to get the blog blocked. The police are ascertaining whether the blog was set up by a person named Sajjad Gul, who is currently based in Rawalpindi.
The idea was to create fear and panic. The ISI and the Lashkar-e-Tayiba were particularly disturbed by the peace moves being made by India. The support the appointment of interlocutor, Dineshwar Sharma got from the journalists in the Valley too did not go down too well with the ISI. At first Gul felt that he could silence journalists, by constantly handing out threats through his blog. However when that did not work, the ISI decided to task Naved Jutt with the killing of Bukhari.
Officials say that it is now clear that this entire operation was carried out on the instructions of the ISI. The ISI was upset with Bukhari for his Track-II efforts in which he had sought for an independent Kashmir. The ISI and the Hizbul were unhappy with his comments on the issue. Following his comments, there were various comments on the social media in which he was accused of being a collaborator.
Investigators have also traced tussle that Bukhari is alleged to have with United Jihad Council chief and Hizbul Mujahideen boss, Syed Salahuddin a month back. Salahuddin had called Bukhari and insisted that he needs to take Pakistan's side on the Kashmir issue. He was also trying to influence the writings so that there is an anti-India/pro-Pakistan tilt. Bukhari however rejected the Salahuddin's suggestion.