In a shocking development for the “fourth pillar of democracy”, eminent journalist and ‘Rising Kashmir’ editor was shot dead reportedly by terrorists in Srinagar yesterday. Apart from Bukhari, his two personal security officers (PSOs) were also killed outside the newspaper’s office. “While Shujaat Bukhari was travelling in a car near Press Enclave, he was fired (upon) indiscriminately which resulted in instant death of Bhukari and a PSO who was with him. The other PSO who was shifted to the hospital in critical condition has succumbed to his injury. Preliminary investigation…indicates this as a terror attack. Police is investigating the case and condemn this gruesome terror act,” Police said in a statement.
The unidentified militants were waiting as it is believed that they had the knowledge about the time Bukhari was to leave office. They fired indiscriminately on the vehicle carrying him and fled on a motorcycle along with a weapon of a Personal Security Officer (PSO) Abdul Hamid, who was also killed on the spot. Another PSO, identified as Hameed, and a civilian were injured in the attack. The policeman later succumbed to his injuries at the hospital. Bukhari is survived by his wife and one son and a daughter, reports say.
Political leaders cutting across the party lines have expressed shock over the incident. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has condemned the killing of Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari in Srinagar and termed it an “act of cowardice”. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said, “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.” Congress President Rahul Gandhi said he was “anguished to hear about the killing of Shujaat Bukhari”. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that “no words are enough for this big tragedy”
Reacting strongly, the Editors Guild of India said, “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.”
Separatists in Kashmir have denounced the killing of Rising Kashmir editor and veteran journalist Shujaat Bukhari, terming it a direct assault on freedom of speech and expression. “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,” Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq posted on Twitter.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police late last night released two pictures of three bike-borne men who are suspected to have killed Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari, and sought the public’s help in identifying them. The three militants were caught on a CCTV camera, the police said.
Pakistan has condemned the assassination of veteran Indian journalist Shujaat Bukhari. “We have learned with deep shock and sadness about the assassination of noted Kashmiri journalist Shujaat Bukhari by unknown gunmen,” Pakistan’s Foreign Office said in a statement.