Journalist Shujaat Bukhari Shot Dead In Kashmir

With the Killing of Shujaat Bukhari a Fearless Voice in Kashmir Media Silenced

Shujaat Bukhari. Credit Facebook

Bukhari, a frequent contributor to the BBC News website, was attacked in his auto near the office of the Rising Kashmir newspaper, which he edited.

He was leaving his office in Srinagar's Press Enclave for an Iftar party when he was shot dead. Bukhari and his two personal security officers (PSOs) were fired upon indiscriminately by unidentified gunmen after he left the office around 7 pm on Thursday.

They said that Bukhari was a respected journalist known for his wide range of analytical writings on Kashmir and that he continued to write actively despite the death threats issued to him.

File image of journalist Shujaat Bukhari.

Most Kashmiris support the rebel cause while also participating in civilian street protests against Indian control.

Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the killing "cannot be condemned enough", and praised Bukhari for "carrying out his professional responsibilities with courage and conviction". Bukhari was instrumental in organising several conferences for peace in the Kashmir Valley.

A police official at the scene said: "It appears to be a very well-planned attack". During the last 9 years, the channel has won over 197 awards and accolades at the prestigious Asian Television Awards, Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards, Indian Television Academy Awards, News Television Awards and Indian Telly Awards, making it India's Most Awarded English News Channel.

Shujaat Bukhari's grave in the foreground at the back is the Kreeri village mosque in Baramulla Kashmir. Credit The Wire
Shujaat Bukhari’s grave in the foreground at the back is the Kreeri village mosque in Baramulla Kashmir. Credit The Wire

"He (Bukhari) is no more".

Former chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted: Even in the last tweet he put out he was defending himself, his colleagues & his profession.

"The guild calls upon the government of Jammu and Kashmir to take urgent steps to bring to book the culprits and ensure safety and security for the media in the state", it said in a statement. "My deepest condolences to his family", the chief minister said on Twitter. "May Allah grant him paradise", a senior journalist said. He was a courageous and fearless journalist.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed profound grief over Bukhari's killing.

The Jammu and Kashmir Police late night released two pictures of three bike-borne men on Twitter, who are suspected to have killed Bukhari, and sought the public's help in identifying the suspects who were involved in the attack in Press Enclave.

The separatists have also condemned his killing terming it barbaric and unpardonable. All anti-India forces are attacking journalist. "This highlights how much hard conditions journalists are working in Kashmir". Under such circumstances, the New Delhi government must consider the ineffectiveness of the "ceasefire" and review its policies in Kashmir and its approach vis-à-vis Pakistan.

This has meant that journalists in the region have often worked under tremendous pressure from all sides.

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