Suspect who picked up pistol after Bukhari killing held

Suspect who picked up pistol after Bukhari killing held

The Jammu and Kashmir Police today arrested a suspect in connection with the killing of veteran journalist Shujaat Bukhari and two of his PSOs, Kashmir's top police officer announced today. ANI photo

Barely hours after releasing his picture seeking public help, Jammu and Kashmir Police detained the fourth suspect in veteran journalist Shujaat Bukhari’s murder case.

Police also recovered the pistol stolen by the suspect from one of the slain guards of Bukhari. “The suspect, who was earlier seen in a video picking up a pistol of the injured cop from the scene of crime, has been identified as Zubair Qayoom of Saderabal (Srinagar),” Inspector General Police (IGP) Kashmir, Swam Prakash Pani told reporters.

He said the pistol has been recovered and the clothes he was wearing on Thursday seized. “The investigation is under way. It is a terror-related crime,” the IGP said.

Pani also said the complicity of the arrested person in the crime is being investigated. A special investigation team (SIT) headed by a DIG-level officer has been constituted for probing the case.

Earlier in the day, police released the CCTV footage of a bearded man who was apparently trying to help the injured policeman in Bukhari’s vehicle. The footage showed him picking up a pistol and escaping from right under the nose of police there.

“Srinagar Police seek the help of general public to identify one more suspect involved in the terror attack at Press Enclave, Srinagar. The name of the person providing any clue or information regarding the suspects will be kept confidential,” the police post read.

On Thursday night, images of three other suspects were released by the police. However, their faces were not visible. While the biker was wearing a helmet, one of the pillion riders had a face mask. The face of the third assailant, sitting in the middle, did not seem to be covered, but he was leaning towards the other side so as not to be captured on CCTV.

A senior police officer said it is early to say whether the arrested man was directly involved in the murder of Bukhari and his two personal security officers (PSOs). “He is being questioned and it may take some more time before his involvement could be established."

Bukhari, the editor of local English daily Rising Kashmir, was killed outside his office while he was boarding his vehicle.

Earlier on Friday, thousands of mourners joined the funeral procession of Bukhari at his ancestral village Kreeri in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.