New Delhi: The Government on Thursday blamed Pakistan's intelligence agency Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) for the killing of Jammu and Kashmir-based senior journalist Shujahat Bukhari and said this is not the first time a voice of sanity and reasoning has been silenced in the militancy-hit state.
Union Minister R K Singh told a television channel that the killing of Bukhari is a clear work of terrorists and their "mentor - that is Pakistani ISI".
The BJP MP from Bihar has also served as the Union Home Secretary.
"Whenever there is a saner voice, terrorists have killed," Mr Singh said.
He described the episode as "utterly heinous" and not a mere "stray incident".
"This act has happened at the directions of mentors (of terrorists) ....that is the ISI of Pakistan," Mr Singh told Republic TV.
Bukhari, Editor of 'Rising Kashmir', was killed on Thursday in Srinagar by unknown assailants.
Jammu and Kashmir police on Friday released 'photos' of three-bike borne men who are suspected to have killed Bukhari.
Sources also say the Pakistan-based terror organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) was also perhaps behind the incident.
Union Minister and BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said while the acts of terror will not be tolerated by the government, adequate steps will be taken to ensure security for working journalists in the state.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Congress president Rahul Gandhi have, among others, condemned the killing.
Meanwhile, senior BJP leader Dr Subramanian Swamy suggested that military be given a "free hand" to deal with the challenges in the state.
On the terrorists, Dr Swamy said, "the only language they understand is the language of gun...The more you talk, they think you are weak".
"The need of the hour is to dismiss the Mehbooba government....," he said.
RSS ideologue Rakesh Sinha said the episode of killing of Editor Bukhari shows the "terrorists are targeting moderate Muslims".
".....the terrorists are now extending terrorism to their own community," he said.