Security agencies suspect ISI role in Bukhari killing

Security agencies are convinced about the involvement of the ISI behind the targeted murder of the 50-year-old editor of Rising Kashmir.

A day after the gruesome killing of veteran journalist Shujaat Bukhari in downtown Srinagar, security agencies suspect the involvement of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) behind the assassination of the Kashmiri editor.

The agencies also apprehend that gunning down of Bukhari and an Indian Army soldier, Aurangzeb, may trigger a resurgence of violence in the J&K capital that remained largely peaceful since 2010 as most of the action shifted to south Kashmir.

While Bukhari was shot at by unidentified gunmen in front of his office, rifleman Aurangzeb of 44 Rashtriya Rifles was abducted while he was on his way back home to celebrate Eid and killed hours later by the terrorists.

Security agencies are convinced about the involvement of the ISI behind the targeted murder of the 50-year-old editor of Rising Kashmir.

They felt one of the principal reasons behind his killing was to further delay the long-awaited panchayat election in the northern state, much to the liking of the powers across the border.

Rural polls were long overdue in Jammu and Kashmir. The panchayat elections were originally scheduled in 2016, but upwelling of protests in the wake of the killing of Hijbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in July 2016 was cited as a reason to delay the polls.

Subsequently, the polls were planned in February 2018, but once again they were postponed indefinitely as the security situation didn't improve in the valley. The killing of Bukhari, sources said, eliminated any chance of conducting the polls in the near future.

The last panchayat elections were held in April-May 2011 with 80% turnout. Jammu and Kashmir has 4,378 panchayats.

The two killings within hours are understood to have changed the government's view on the continuation of Ramzan ceasefire that would come to an end on the Eid.

Army operations are likely to return to the Kashmir Valley, as soon as the government formally announces an end to the ceasefire.

The forces were not in support of the unilateral ceasefire for a month but came on board reluctantly after it was agreed that they would be free to retaliate if attacked and the restrictions wouldn't impact the intelligence-based operations.

The cordon and search operations and search and destroy operations that were put on hold temporarily, are likely to back because the forces fear that one month of lull gave the terrorists enough time to regroup and re-plan besides gathering more intelligence on the ground. Heavy security deployment is likely for the Amarnath yatra starting from June 28.

Army sources said close to 40 well-trained terrorists are waiting in the launch pads across the border in search of suitable opportunity to infiltrate.

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Security agencies suspect ISI role in Bukhari killing

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