Renowned senior journalist and editor-in-chief of English daily ‘Rising Kashmir’, Shujaat Bukhari was on Thursday, 14 June shot dead by unknown assailants in Srinagar’s Press Colony around 7:15 pm as he was leaving his Press enclave office for an Iftar party.
He along with two of his Personal Security Officers (PSOs) was immediately rushed to Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital, where the journalist succumbed to his injuries. One security guard died in the hospital, while another is in a critical condition.
“Three motorcycle-borne militants came and fired at Bukhari and his guards. Bukhari and one guard were killed and another security guard critically injured,” said Jammu and Kashmir DGP SP Vaid.
Jammu and Kashmir police said that Bukhari had earlier criticised Pakistan in a social media post and they were scanning his social media accounts too. He had faced death threats earlier as well.
Shujaat Bukhari’s killers caught on CCTV, investigation underway
The police of Jammu and Kashmir last night released two pictures of three bike-borne men who are suspected to have killed Bukhari. The state police have also appealed to the people of Srinagar to identify the suspects behind the killing of Shujaat Bukhari, for the purpose of a police investigation.
The three militants were caught on a Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) camera, the police official said. Three men faces covered with black helmet and mask can be seen riding a motorcycle.
“In connection with today’s terror attack at Srinagar, police requests general public to identify the suspects for the purpose of the police investigation,” a statement read.
His early life and work
Fifty-three-year-old Bukhari completed his Masters in Journalism from Ateneo de Manila University, as a fellow of Asian Centre for Journalism, Singapore. Quite a bright one, he received the World Press Institute (WPI) USA fellowship Asian Centre for Journalism Singapore fellowship. Bukhari has also been a fellow at East West Centre in Hawaii, USA. He also worked as the state correspondent for national daily ‘The Hindu’ for 15 years. Bukhari was also a fellow at East West Centre at Hawaii, USA. He was also the president of Adbee Markaz Kamraz, the biggest and oldest cultural and literary organization of Valley. Bukhari was also a fellow at East West Centre at Hawaii, USA. Bukhari had been under police protection since an attack on him in 2000 and had survived three assassination attempts in the past.
Kashmiris, journalists, politicians express shock, grief
Kashmiris, political leaders, journalists and editors across India took to twitter to express their shock:
“Shocked and deeply saddened by the sudden demise of Shujaat Bukhari. The scourge of terror has reared its ugly head on the eve of Eid. I strongly condemn this act of mindless violence and pray for his soul to rest in peace. My deepest condolences to his family,” Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti wrote on Twitter.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said that there wasn’t an iota of doubt that terrorists were behind the killing of noted journalist Shujaat Bukhari. Condemning the attack, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said it was an attempt to silence the saner voices of Kashmir.
He added that he has spoken to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and assured the killers would be punished.
Bukhari’s death was condemned by ministers, opposition leaders, media bodies and even Pakistan.
‘The Editors Guild of India unequivocally condemns the assassination of Rising Kashmir Editor Shujaat Bukhari. This is a grave attack on press freedom and democratic voices. We will be issuing a more detailed statement soon’: Editors in Guild tweeted.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office said it was deeply shocked and saddened with the assassination of Bukhari. “There can be no justification for anyone to commit such brutality, which cannot be condemned enough,” the neighboring country’s foreign office said in a statement.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi described Bukhari as a “Braveheart” who fought fearlessly for justice and peace in Jammu and Kashmir.
J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti said terrorism had hit a new low with Bukhari’s killing and asserted that justice would be done.
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik strongly condemned the brutal killing of the senior Kashmiri Journalist.
The Editors Guild of India unequivocally condemns the assassination of Rising Kashmir Editor Shujaat Bukhari. This is a grave attack on press freedom and democratic voices. We will be issuing a more detailed statement soon
— Editors Guild of India (@IndEditorsGuild) June 14, 2018
I’m anguished to hear about the killing of Shujaat Bukhari, editor of @RisingKashmir. He was a brave heart who fought fearlessly for justice and peace in Jammu & Kashmir. My condolences to his family. He will be missed.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) June 14, 2018
Shocked & deeply saddened by the sudden demise of Shujaat Bukhari. The scourge of terror has reared its ugly head on the eve of Eid. I strongly condemn this act of mindless violence & pray for his soul to rest in peace. My deepest condolences to his family.
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) June 14, 2018