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Draw a line or face consequences, BJP leader tells Kashmiri scribes

The Tribune 2018-06-24 02:19:00

Choudhary Lal Singh
Former minister and BJP leader Choudhary Lal Singh has courted fresh controversy by asking Kashmiri journalists to draw a line or face the consequences like noted journalist Shujaat Bukhari, who was brutally killed on Eid eve. Lal Singh’s remarks have drawn sharp criticism in the Valley, with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) — the former coalition partner of the BJP — calling for his arrest. “His statement is condemnable, bizarre and malicious and merits immediate action. We urge the Governor’s administration to book and arrest Lal Singh,” PDP general secretary Mansoor Hussain said. “...Now, (I) will tell Kashmiri journalists to draw a line on the journalism you do and how you have to live. Do you have to live like what happened to Basharat? (an inference to Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari, who was killed in Srinagar on June 14),” said Lal Singh at a press conference in Jammu. Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who flagged the video on Twitter, said Shujaat’s death is “now a tool for goons to threaten other journalists”. When contacted, Lal Singh, who was forced to resign in April after he attended a rally supporting those accused of raping and murdering an eight-year-old Kathua girl, said he stood by his remarks. “It is so because a certain section in the Kashmir media keeps eulogising terrorism, anti-national elements and their sympathisers. It harms national interest,” he said. Lal Singh added that his statement “is in favour of all nationalist journalists who are paying the price, and I am ready to face any consequence”. — TNS