SRINAGAR: In an audacious attack that has left the media industry shaken, senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari was shot dead by unknown attackers in Srinagar on Thursday evening. Mr Bukhari, the editor of the ‘Rising Kashmir’ newspaper, was attacked when he had stepped out of his office in Press Colony in the city. He was hit by multiple bullets at close range. A security guard on his protection detail was also shot dead while another was injured.
This is the first attack on a journalist in a long time in Kashmir and provoked widespread shock and condemnation.
“It’s a very unfortunate incident. Today at about 7:30 pm when he was coming out of his office and boarding his car, three terrorists came on a motorcycle and opened fire. Two of his PSOs (personal security officers) were also hit and one of them is no more the other is under treatment. They were shot before they could react,” Jammu and Kashmir police chief SP Vaid told NDTV.
“They (the terrorists) chose the Iftaar time when everybody was rushing home. We will look into who these people are,” he added.
Shujaat Bukhari was given police protection since an attack on him in 2000. He was instrumental in organising several conferences for peace in the Kashmir valley. He was also part of the Track II process with Pakistan.
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
— Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) 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
Shujaat Bukhari was shot while coming out of his office in the heart of Srinagar.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh condemned the killing.
“Press Club of India is shocked and saddened by this mindless terror attack that claimed the life of Shujaat Bukhari in the holy month of Ramzan… [it] shows that lives of journalists are not at all safe. Forces inimical to restoring peace in Kashmir Valley have silenced a voice of reason, logic and peace,” it said in a statement.
The attack took place hours after Home Minister Rajnath Singh held a security review meeting for the annual Amarnath pilgrimage that starts later this month.
Sources say Rajnath Singh’s peace initiative in Kashmir, a ceasefire, may not extend beyond Ramzan, which is expected to end with Eid tomorrow.
National Security Advisor Ajit Doval indicated that the offer was only for Eid.
The ceasefire was seen to trigger a spurt in terror activities. Data collected by the home ministry indicates that terror-related incidents in the Kashmir valley have increased by more than 100 percent during Ramzan.