Srinagar: Former BJP minister Lal Singh has told journalists in Kashmir to draw red lines for themselves, reminding them that they need to think if they want to meet the fate of journalist Shujaat Bukhari who was assassinated by terrorists in Srinagar.
- Media waiting for incident like Shujaat Bukhari murder?: Lal Singh
- He said media created perception that he sided with Kathua rape accused
- He had resigned after he attended a rally supporting Kathua accused
Mr Singh was one of the two BJP ministers in the Mehbooba Mufti government who was forced to resign in April this year after he identified himself with the campaign to free the accused arrested for the gang-rape of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua.
The BJP leader, a legislator from Basohli town in Jammu region, had soon after blamed Kashmiri journalists for building, what he described as a false perception, that he had sided with the accused. Lal Singh had participated in a rally of the Hindu Ekta Manch allegedly in support of the accused.
"Kashmiri journalists have created wrong atmosphere about the whole case," he complained again on Friday, days after the BJP had snapped ties with the PDP and pulled down the coalition government led by Mehbooba Mufti.
He went on.
"I would like to ask journalists of Kashmir now to draw a line of journalism and think about how to live... Are they waiting for a similar incident that happened with Basharat (Shujaat)... And draw a line so that the brotherhood continues and progress is made," said Lal Singh.
In a tweet on Saturday, the BJP lawmaker said, "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."
Veteran journalist and Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari was killed outside his office on June 14. Shujaat Bukhari's brother Syed Basharat Ahmed Bukhari is a PDP lawmaker and was the law minister in the Mufti government.
Lal Singh's controversial remarks came just ahead of BJP chief Amit Shah's first visit to the state on Saturday after ending the alliance with the PDP. Mr Shah had also referred to the journalist's assassination in his speech but to blame the PDP for the deteriorating law and order situation in the state that it had ruled for three years.
The Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party or the PDP urged Governor NN Vohra to immediately book and arrest the former minister. The National Conference and the Congress sharply criticised the BJP for its senior lawmaker's statement, saying it was a clear threat.
In a statement, National Conference said it strongly condemned the outrageous remarks and threatening of Kashmiri journalists by BJP leader and legislator Lal Singh. "This merits immediate cognisance by the Jammu and Kashmir police. We hope the law isn't subverted," the party spokesman said.