English newspaper ‘Rising Kashmir’ published its daily edition today even after losing its editor-in-chief Shujaat Bukhari yesterday in an assassination which also left two of his two personal security officers (PSOs) dead. Bukhari and his two PSOs were shot dead by unidentified gunmen outside Rising Kashmir office in Press Enclave near the city centre Lal Chowk here in Srinagar shortly before the ‘Iftaar’ yesterday evening. Bukhari is survived by his wife and one son and a daughter.
Rising Kashmir hit the stands this morning with its front page carrying the full-page photograph of its late editor-in-chief in black background. The page also carried the message that the paper would not be cowed down. “You left all too sudden but you will always be our leading light with your professional conviction and exemplary courage. We won’t be cowed down by the cowards who snatched you from us. We will uphold your principle of telling the truth howsoever unpleasant it may be…Rest in peace!” the paper said.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said publishing the daily despite Bukhari’s killing is the most fitting tribute to him as it was what the late journalist would have wanted to. “The show must go on. As Shujaat would have wanted it to. This is today’s @RisingKashmir issue. That Shujaat’s colleagues were able to bring out the paper in the face of insurmountable grief is a testament to their professionalism & the most fitting tribute to their late boss,” Omar wrote on Twitter while sharing a picture of the front page of the paper.
Bukhari’s killing has evoked widespread condemnations in Jammu and Kashmir and from across the country. Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra have conveyed shock and grief on the gruesome killing of Bukhari. Recalling Bukhari’s standing as a veteran journalist, the Governor described his murder as a big loss to the media fraternity. In a message, Vohra has prayed for peace to the departed soul and strength to the bereaved family to bear this irreparable loss.
The Governor also called Bukhari’s brother and Cabinet Minister Basharat Ahmed Bukhari to convey his heartfelt sympathy. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has also strongly condemned the killing of the veteran journalist. In a condolence message, the chief minister described the killing of Bukhari as highly barbaric, deplorable and condemnable.
“His killing has only established that violence cannot stand the scrutiny of logic and rationality. The whole state stands in unanimity in condemning this inhuman act of savagery,” Mehbooba said in the statement. She said the role and contribution rendered by Bukhari in the institutionalisation of 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,” Mehbooba said. The chief minister visited the hospital where Bukhari was taken after the attack 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.
The separatists have also condemned his killing terming it barbaric and unpardonable. Bukhari will be laid to rest in his ancestral village in Kreeri in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district today. His funeral prayers will be held at 11 am. Bukhari is the fourth journalist to be killed by militants in the nearly three-decade-long violence in Kashmir. In 1991, the editor of ‘Alsafa’, Mohammed Shaban Vakil, was killed by militants of Hizbul Mujahideen.
Former BBC correspondent Yussuf Jameel escaped with injuries when a bomb exploded in his office in 1995, but ANI cameramen Mushtaq Ali lost his life in the incident. Later, on January 31, 2003, Parvaz Mohammed Sultan, editor of NAFA, was shot dead by Hizbul Mujahideen at his Press Enclave office.