Senior journalist and Rising Kashmir editor-in-chief Shujaat Bukhari was on Thursday shot dead in Srinagar by unidentified assailants. According to reports, Bukhari’s personal security officer also got critically injured in the attack.
Bukhari was attacked by armed assailants in Press Colony near Lal Chawk in Srinagar, following which he was rushed to a nearby hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. His personal security officer also died in the attack.
According to officials, Bukhari, who was in his 50s, was leaving his office for an iftar party when he was shot. While one of the personal security officers guarding him was killed, another policeman and a civilian were injured in the attack.
Shafat Mir, an employee of Rising Kashmir, told Zee News that there were four assailants who carried out the attack in the crowded area of Srinagar. "We are not sure as to how the attackers came. They might have not used any vehicle as the place is very crowded. It is a busy street and remains always crowded, and since it was probably the last day of Ramzan, the place was bustling with Eid shoppers," said Shafat.
Recalling the experience of working under the veteran journalist, he added, "He has left us shocked and numb. He was always available for us. As a human being he was simply great, and in profession he was more a mentor."
The condition of the two injured in the shooting, which comes a day ahead of Eid, is critical.
Bukhari, who earlier worked with The Hindu newspaper as its Kashmir correspondent, was instrumental in organising several conferences for peace in the Kashmir Valley. He was also part of the Track II process with Pakistan.
This was not the first attempt of the life of the veteran Kashmiri journalist. Shujaat Bukhari was earlier attacked in 2000, following which he was given police protection.
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 Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) June 14, 2018
Earlier when reports of the attack on the veteran journalist came in, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said that he was in "complete shock". After the confirmation of Bukhari's death, the former chief minister expressed his grief saying he was "shocked beyond words".
As the report of Bukhari's death came in, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti condemned the "act of mindless violence". She said, "Shocked and deeply saddened by sudden demise of Shujaat Bukhari. The scourge of terror has reared its ugly head on the eve of Eid. Strongly condemn this act of mindless violence and pray for his soul to rest in peace. Deepest condolences to his family.
She also rushed to meet the family of the veteran journalist. Recalling that Bukhari met her just a few days back, Mufti said his death was "upsetting".
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh termed the killing of Bukhari as "an act of cowardice". He tweeted, The killing of @RisingKashmir editor, Shujaat Bukhari is an act of cowardice. It is an attempt to silence the saner voices of Kashmir. He was a courageous and fearless journalist. Extremely shocked & pained at his death. My thoughts and prayers are with his bereaved family."
Congress president Rahul Gandhi also expressed at the killing saying, "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."