SRINAGAR: Unknown persons last night damaged at least three cars in Srinagar’s Press Enclave, barely over a month after the broad daylight assassination of Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari, sparking fear and concern among the journalists here.

Altaf Hussain, the former north India correspondent for the BBC, said three cars parked in the high-security Press Enclave, also known as Mushtaq Enclave, were damaged by unknown persons last night which he said has terrorised the journalistic fraternity in Srinagar.

According to reports, the rear windshields of three cars, including an SUV owned by Hussain which was also searched. “Nothing was stolen from my car but the documents were searched. Police must provide us answers how it happened under their noses,” he said.

The enclave hosts dozens of newspaper offices published from Srinagar, including the leading English daily Greater Kashmir and Rising Kashmir, and also residences of some journalists and their families. The last night attack has left them in shock.

“After Shujaat’s assassination, we were assured by police that round-the-clock security will be deployed in Press Enclave and a high-end CCTV camera was also installed. Despite this, unknown men struck in the night at will,” Hussain said.

He said either the policemen, who are deployed for night duty in the Press Enclave, were missing or they “allowed the assailants to strike”, “This is a breach of security which needs to be investigated expeditiously. I am getting calls from my colleagues who are concerned for their safety,” he said.

The attack comes at a time when the J&K Police has identified a Kashmir-born Pakistan-based blogger for his involvement in the assassination of Bukhari, who was shot dead along with his two security guards by three suspected Lashkar-e-Toiba militants last month.

Following the disclosure, two prominent senior journalists based in Srinagar, who were also named by the blogger as ‘collaborators’ of ‘Indian agencies’ have been given security and bullet-proof vehicles by the Jammu and Kashmir government.

The J&K Police has requested the state government to write to the Ministry of Home Affairs to invoke the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty and seek American help in the investigation of the assassination of Bukhari.

“You [Centre] kindly take up the issue with the central authority of United States of America for collection of evidence required from social sites having services in USA,” the J&K Police letter reads.

(Cover Photograph BASIT ZARGAR)