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Mend your ways or meet same fate as Shujaat Bukhari: BJP MLA Lal Singh threatens J&K journalists

BJP MLA Choudhary Lal Singh has come under attack from several quarters for threatening the journalists in J&K. 

Mend your ways or meet same fate as Shujaat Bukhari: BJP MLA Lal Singh threatens J&K journalists
File photo of BJP MLA

Srinagar: Lal Singh, a BJP legislator and former minister in Mehbooba Mufti-led government, has sparked a row after he threatened journalists in Jammu and Kashmir and asked them to 'draw a line.'

"Kashmiri journalists have created an erroneous atmosphere and I would like to ask them to draw a line...You want to live like what happened to Basharat (Shujaat Bukhari)...Take care of yourselves and draw a line so that the brotherhood is not broken and it is maintained so that progress and development is ensured,'' Singh said while speaking to reporters in Jammu on Friday. 

Singh also took to Twitter on Saturday and tweeted, ''There is need to draw a line between reporting facts and supporting terrorists and their sympathisers. Misinterpretation has become a norm and reporting facts a rarity. Journalistic freedom is absolute but not at the cost of nation and nationalism."

Singh had recently resigned from the cabinet after facing a huge backlash for participating in a rally supporting the culprits of gangrape-and-murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua earlier this year.

Singh's statement threatening the journalists came days after 'The Rising Kashmir' editor-in-chief Shujaat Bukhari was shot dead by some terrorists in Srinagar's Press Colony.

Meanwhile, the Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) on Saturday condemned Lal Singh's statement threatening Kashmiri journalists.

''KEG has strongly condemned the criminal statement of Lal Singh who has issued a direct threat to the Kashmir media. Singh, who was earlier being termed as a serious sufferer of foot-in-mouth disease, has moved way ahead and issued a direct threat to the media in Kashmir, '' a spokesman of the KEG said in a statement.

The guild said, "Singh's statement indicates that he holds some information about Bukhari's murder and must be investigated. KEG reserves the right to lodge a police case against the lawmaker who, earlier as well, named a number of reporters for his fall from grace in wake of the Kathua probe, now in a trial stage." 

The KEG said that it was perturbed over the sluggish pace with which the investigation into Bukhari's murder is moving ahead. 

Congress party too condemned Lal Singh for threatening the journalists.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala took to Twitter and tweeted, ''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 Shujat Bukhari by naming his brother.''

''Does BJP leaders have some special knowledge of the assassination?'' he asked. 

Omar Abdullah-led National Conference too latched on to the opportunity to attack BJP over its MLA's ''outrageous'' remarks.  

''National Conference strongly condemns the outrageous remarks and threatening of Kashmiri journalists by BJP Leader and MLA Chaudhry Lal Singh. This merits immediate cognisance by the @JmuKmrPolice. We hope the law isn't subverted - Party Spokesperson,'' KNC tweeted.

JKNC leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah later re-tweeted the statement issued by his party. 

Bukhari and his two personal security officers were shot dead by unidentified gunmen outside the newspaper's office in the heart of Srinagar on June 14.

Bukhari`s murder drew a nationwide outrage with many calling it an "attack on the freedom of speech".