SRINAGAR A group of armed persons Thursday evening appeared in Srinagar’s Press Enclave and shot dead prominent journalist and Editor-in-Chief of Rising Kashmir newspaper, Shujaat Bukhari along with his two personal security guards.
Bukhari was attacked when he had just boarded his vehicle outside his office at around 7 pm. He was hit by multiple bullets fired from a close range. Two security guards escorting him were also killed.
Soon after the attack, he was rushed to nearby hospital where he was declared brought dead.
Bukhari is survived by elderly parents, wife and two children, a girl and a boy.
Bukhari, who was in his 50s, was leaving his office in Press Enclave in the city centre for an iftar party when he was shot, officials said.
It was not immediately clear how many gunmen attacked Bukhari, who earlier worked with The Hindu newspaper as its Kashmir correspondent. He had started his professional career in early ninties from the Kashmir Times as a reporter.
A police statement issued regarding the incident reads: It is learnt that militants this evening fired upon senior journalist and Editor-in-Chief of the daily Rising Kashmir Mr Shujaat Bukhari at Press Enclacve Lal Chowk. While Mr Shujaat Bukhari was traveling in a car near Press enclave he was fired upon indiscriminately which resulted in instant death of Mr Bhukari and a PSO who was with him.
The other injured PSO who was shifted to the hospital in critical condition has succumbed to his injury, it said.
In the aftermath of the incident Mr Shujaat and the other injured were immediately shifted to the nearby hospital by the Police, where they were declared as brought dead, police said, adding, Preliminary investigational finding indicates this as a terror attack. Police is investigating the case and condemns this gruesome terror act.
Bukhari was given police protection after an attack on him in the year 2000.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh said there is no doubt that terrorists have killed Shujaat Bhukhari. He also spoke to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti late on Wednesday.
Jammu and Kashmir Police released pictures of the assailants, asking the public to help identify them.
Born in Kreeri, Baramulla, Bukhari was instrumental in organising several conferences for peace in the Kashmir Valley. He was also part of the Track II process with Pakistan, Press Trust of India reported.
He had completed his masters in journalism from Ateneo de Manila University, Manila, as a fellow of Asian Centre for Journalism, Singapore and was a recipient of several fellowships.
His brother, Syed Basharat Bukhari, is a minister in Mehbooba Mufti’s cabinet.
A few days ago, Bukhari had stated that he would be leaving Facebook for good. He was angry and pained over the hate write-ups written in little-known web portals against him.
His death has brought shock to the entire journalistic community in Kashmir.
“Completely devastated by barbaric killing of my dearest friend Shujaat Bukhari. Shujaat always feared such an attack on his life. I am not sure whether authorities had ever taken cognizance of threat perception to him,” senior journalist Zafar Chaudhary said.
As the former president of Adbi Markaz Kamraz, Shujaat was well known in literary circles.
His body was taken to his native place at Kreeri where he will be laid to rest on Friday at his ancestral graveyard at 11 am.
The killing has led to an outpouring of condolence messages from people on all sides of the political spectrum, including separatist leaders.
Violence Cant Stand Scrutiny Of Logic: CM; Shocked Beyond Words: Omar
Mainstream and separatists on Thursday, cutting across party lines, condemned the killing of senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari.
In a condolence message, the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti described the killing of Bukhari as highly barbaric, deplorable and condemnable. His killing today has only established that violence cannot stand the scrutiny of logic and rationality, she said in her statement adding the whole State today stands in unanimity in condemning this inhuman act of savagery.
Mehbooba Mufti said the role and contribution rendered by Shujaat Bukhari in institutionalisation the media here has become part of the journalistic history of the State. One would always see him raising issues of common cause concerning people. He would often fight for the issues of people through his columns and various discussions but alas this voice of people stands silenced today brutally, she added in her message.
The Chief Minister visited the Hospital and paid her respects to the departed soul. She also conveyed her heartfelt sympathies with the bereaved family particularly his parents, wife and two kids.
Governor N.N. Vohra has conveyed shock and grief on the gruesome killing. Recalling Bukharis standing as a veteran journalist Governor described his murder as a big loss to the media fraternity.
In a message Governor has prayed for peace to the departed soul and strength to the bereaved family to bear this irreparable loss. Governor has called Sh. Basharat Ahmed Bukhari, Cabinet Minister and Shujaats brother, to convey his heartfelt sympathy.
Former chief minister Omar Abdullah and CPI leader M Y Tarigami also expressed shock at the killing.
“I’m in complete shock. Hearing the worst…Inna lilahi wa inna illahi rajiuun. Shocked beyond words. May Shujaat find place in Jannat & May his loved ones find strength at this difficult time,” Omar wrote on Twitter.
“Even in the last tweet he put out he was defending himself, his colleagues & his profession. He died in the line of duty doing what he did best & loved doing – journalism,” he said.
“Along with Shujaat, his security chap was also killed and another lies injured in hospital. Prayers and condolences for them and their families on this terrible night,” he said.
CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami said it was a “brutal” attempt by hawks to silence the messenger of peace. He said it was Tan attack on freedom of press and needs to be condemned in the strongest possible words.
Difference Of Opinion No Way A Crime: Geelani; Unpardonable: Mirwaiz
Condemning the killing, Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani said that it is against the moral and human ethics to kill a person without any justification.
Regretting such mysterious killings, the Hurriyat leader said difference of opinion is no way a crime to kill a person.
Geelani, while paying his condolences to the bereaved family of the young journalist, prayed for his eternal peace
Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq also condemned the killing, saying the act was unpardonable.
Deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic news of Shujaat Bukhari’s killing! Such inhumanity is unpardonable and condemned in the strongest terms! Proud son of the soil his death is a huge loss, Mirwaiz tweeted.
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