Choudhary Lal Singh Singh had served as the Minister for Forest and Environment in the previous PDP-BJP government. He was asked to resign from the cabinet in April.
Former Jammu and Kashmir minister and BJP leader Choudhary Lal Singh today stoked a controversy with his remark warning journalists to ‘mend their ways’ over their style of reporting on the sensational murder and rape a minor girl belonging to a nomadic community in Kathua. According to news agency ANI, Singh even accused Kashmiri journalists of creating a ‘wrong atmosphere’ in the Valley.
Choudhary Lal Singh Singh had served as the Minister for Forest and Environment in the previous PDP-BJP government. He was asked to resign from the cabinet in April after he was seen participating in a rally in support of the accused in the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Kathua.
“Journalists of Kashmir created a wrong environment there,” he said while referring to the media reporting of Kathua incident.
“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, so that such a situation emerges?” he asked in an apparent reference to assassination of Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari outside his office near Lal Chowk on the eve Eid.
BJP leader Lal Singh Chaudhary says in Jammu, “journalists of Kashmir created a wrong environment there. You should draw a line in journalism, so that brotherhood is maintained & there is progress” (22.06.18) pic.twitter.com/8TXaU3rPaZ
— ANI (@ANI) June 23, 2018
Shujaat Bukhari’s brother Basharat Bukhari was a Cabinet minister in the PDP-BJP government before the saffron party pulled out of the coalition earlier this week and the state was placed under Governor’s rule.
Meanwhile, National Conference leader and former J&K CM Omar Abdullah has condemned Singh’s statement. “Dear journalists, your colleagues in Kashmir just got threatened by a BJP MLA. It seems Shujaat’s death is now a tool for goons to use to threaten other journalists,” he tweeted.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala asked if the 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 Shujat Bukhari by naming his brother. Do BJP leaders have some special knowledge of the assassination?” he said in a tweet.