Shujaat Bukhari murdered in Srinagar: Politicians, journalists condemn killing, call it an attempt to derail peace process

Voices from within the Valley and the rest of the nation condemned the killing of veteran journalist and Rising Kashmir editor-in-chief Shujaat Bukhari.

Condolence messages and condemnation flooded social media after news broke that the veteran journalist and two of his personal security officers were shot at a close range by three bike-borne assailants. Bukhari and one of his PSO succumbed to their injuries, while the second security officer remains critical.

The incident occurred outside the newspaper's office in the heart of Jammu and Kashmir's summer capital Srinagar, when Bukhari was leaving his office to attend an iftaar party. Bukhari was killed just a day before Eid, when the Union government has announced a unilateral ceasefire to facilitate peaceful observation of festivities in the Valley.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was among the first to comment. She expressed shock and anguish and appeared visibly upset. Mehbooba also rushed to the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital, where Bhukari was taken after the attack, to meet his family. She also issued a condemnation of the terrorists on social media:

Jammu and Kashmir's former chief minister and Opposition leader Omar Abdullah also tweeted prayers for the family and expressed deep anguish. Omar also tweeted his last exchange with the veteran journalist on the micro-blogging site. Omar made sure to mention his grief for the personal security officer who died in the attack, and  offered prayers for the well-being of the other security official Omar also quoted Bukhari's last tweet, where the veteran journalist defended his ideological stance and his reportage, and said he died in line of duty. "Even in the last tweet he put out he was defending himself, his colleagues and his profession. He died in the line of duty doing what he did best and loved doing - journalism," Omar's tweet read.

The veteran journalist, in his last tweet, rebuffed allegations that he was a 'quasi-Islamist' and responsible for 'biased reportage'.

Union home minister Rajnath Singh strongly condemned the killing, called it an act of cowardice and an attempt to disrupt peace efforts in the Valley.

BJP leader Ram Madhav also expressed deep shock. "Shocked to hear about d attack on d Editor-in-Chief of Rising Kashmir Shujaat Bukhari in Srinagar. Reprehensible n condemnable cowardly act of d terrorists," Madhav, a former journalist, tweeted minutes after the news broke out.

Union minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore termed the killing a brutal attack on the freedom of press:

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi also tweeted his condolences to the family, and hailed Bukhari as a 'brave heart' who propagated peace.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee also condemned the killing. "I'm anguished to hear about the killing of Shujaat Bukhari, editor of Rising Kashmir. He was a brave heart who fought fearlessly for justice and peace in Jammu and Kashmir. My condolences to his family. He will be missed," she said on Twitter.

Journalists across sections of media were united in their condemnation of the murder.

Senior journalist Burkha Dutt put out an emotionally-charged message"

"There is no getting around it : @bukharishujaat has been assassinated for being an advocate for peace and reconciliation; for his refusal to give up hope; for his constant search for Kashmir',s elusive middle ground. A deep professional and personal loss for me," she tweeted.

She also criticised online trolls targetting moderate voices and journalists.  

Sagarika Ghose called Bukhari a 'resolute voice' and  expressed a sense of devastation.

Senior journalist Siddharth Varadarajan, a former colleague, said, "Shujaat Bukhari and I were colleagues at The Hindu. He was a formidable reporter, and, as editor of Rising Kashmir, a powerful voice for the embattled media fraternity, a true voice of sanity and reason. No words of condemnation are enough for the scum who have assassinated him. No words of condemnation are enough for the scum who have assassinated him." Vardarajan also said the assassination looked like an attempt to derail the peace process.

Bukhari, who was in his 50s, was leaving his office in Press Enclave in the city centre Lal Chowk for an iftar party when he was shot dead, officials said.  Bukhari, who earlier worked with The Hindu newspaper as its Kashmir correspondent, was instrumental in organising several conferences for peace in the Valley. He was also part of the Track II process with Pakistan.

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Updated Date: Jun 14, 2018 21:56:41 IST

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