Draw a line or meet Shujaat’s fate, BJP leader warns

Draw a line or meet Shujaat’s fate, BJP leader warns


Senior BJP leader and former minister Chaudhary Lal Singh on Friday warned Kashmir journalists of “Shujaat-like incident” for what he called creating "wrong narrative” regarding Kathua gang-rape-murder of an eight-year-old nomad girl.

The controversial leader, who was ousted from the Mehbooba cabinet in April for rallying in support of the accused in Kathua gang-rape-murder case, said, “They (Kashmir journalists) have created wrong atmosphere about the whole case. Now, I would like to ask them to draw a line in journalism and think about how to live.”

In a veiled threat, while referring to the recent killing of Shujaat Bukhari, a veteran journalist and editor of local English daily ‘Rising Kashmir’, Singh said, “Are they (Kashmir journalists) waiting for similar incident that has happened with Basharat? (apparently referring to Shujaat. Basharat is brother of the slain journalist and was a cabinet colleague of Singh in the former government).”

This is not the first time that Lal Singh has courted controversy. In May 2016, he threatened a delegation of Gujjars (nomads), when he said: “O Gujron, 1947 pulligaya hai tuse ge (O Gujjars! Have you forgotten 1947? Why have you come here?).”

His remark was taken as a reference to the massacre of thousands of Muslims in the Jammu region in the riots during 1947 partition.

Lal Singh’s latest “outrageous remarks” evoked sharp reaction in Kashmir with Opposition National Conference asking the police to take cognisance. “National Conference strongly condemns the outrageous remarks and threatening of Kashmiri journalists by BJP leader and MLA Chaudhary Lal Singh. This merits immediate cognisance by the @JmuKmrPolice. We hope the law isn't subverted,” said a party spokesperson on Twitter.

Congress leader Randeep S Surjewala asked if BJP leaders had any "special knowledge of the assassination". “Shocking & reprehensible! BJP J&K MLA, Lal Singh openly threatens journalists to ‘fall in line & draw a line’. He horrifically says that otherwise they will meet the fate of Shujaat Bukhari by naming his brother. Do BJP leaders have some special knowledge of the assassination (sic)?” he tweeted.

Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG), a forum of local newspapers in Kashmir, termed Lal Singh’s criminal statement as a direct threat to the Valley's mediapersons.