It’s a pity that the BJP has chosen to overlook demands for taking tough action against its Jammu area MLA, Lal Singh, for threatening the media in the Kashmir Valley. The MLA recently warned the press that they may suffer the same fate as prominent editor Shujaat Bukhari, who was killed in a targeted assassination in Srinagar just before Id-ul-Fitr, if they didn’t change their “narrative”. This is another way of hinting that criticism of the BJP must stop. The ruling party has been widely censured for mismanaging Kashmir’s politics and has been unconcerned about policies that caused a substantial number of civilian deaths in anti-terrorist operations.
Mr Singh’s condemnable observation does lead to speculation whether he has some knowledge of the cold-blooded murder of the Rising Kashmir editor. The MLA must be required to appear before the official inquiry into the Bukhari assassination. The MLA appears to be a serial offender. He was a minister in the PDP-BJP government whose life ended after the BJP withdrew support to chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, leading her to resign. In the wake of the Kathua rape-murder of a tribal Muslim child, he had come out in open defence of the small coterie that allegedly committed the crime at a temple. Mr Singh must be questioned on this too by the court when the matter is brought to trial. By harbouring such elements, a national party like the BJP done itself no favours. The party evidently fears that acting against the likes of Mr Singh may dent its Jammu base in the next Lok Sabha polls.