Jammu: The cold-blooded killing of Rising Kashmir editor-in-chief Shujaat Bukhari has sent shock waves across the country and the plunged the entire Kashmir Valley into a state of grief. Reacting to the incident, several politicians cutting across the party lines and leading journalists have expressed their condolences and condemned his killing in the strongest terms.
Shujaat Bukhari, one of the leading journalists from J&K and editor-in-chief of the prestigious daily 'The Rising Kashmir', was assassinated by some unidentified terrorists outside his office at the Press Colony on Thursday evening. His personal security officer (PSO) was also killed while another suffered a grievous injury in the attack.
He was on his way to an Iftar party when three men came on a bike and started firing on Bukhari’s car.
Meanwhile, the J&K Police have also released the pictures of Bukhari's suspected killers and appealed to the general public for providing valuable information leading to their arrest. The CCTV footage obtained by the police shows the three bike-borne attackers who came wearing helmets with their faces covered.
While the one riding the bike was wearing a black helmet, the second was hiding his face and the third was wearing a black mask. The image also shows the second pillion rider carrying a bag, which probably had the guns used in the attack.
Srinagar Police seeks help of the general public to identify the suspects involved in yesterday's terror attack in Press Colony that killed editor of Rising Kashmir newspaper Shujaat Bukhari. Police releases photographs of the suspect from CCTV footage #JammuAndKashmir pic.twitter.com/ggJhzH7IiJ
— ANI (@ANI) June 14, 2018
So far, no terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the dastardly act.
Hours before he fell to the bullets of unidentified gunmen, Shujaat Bukhari had vigorously defended his work on Twitter when some Delhi-based journalists accused him of doing "biased" reportage on Kashmir and had posted the UN report on alleged human rights violations in the Valley.
One of his last tweets read: "First-ever @UNHumanRights report on #Kashmir calls for #international inquiry into multiple violations".
Bukhari, who had a distinguishable tall frame and husky voice, said in another tweet, "In #Kashmir we have done Journalism with pride and will continue to highlight what happens on ground."
Bukhari was instrumental in organising several conferences for peace in the Kashmir Valley. He was also part of the Track II process with Pakistan.
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.
Reacting to his killing, 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".
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
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti too 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.''
Shocked & deeply saddened by the sudden demise of Shujaat Bukhari. 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.
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) June 14, 2018
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."
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.
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) June 14, 2018
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."
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
Several journalist bodies too condemned the killing of the senior journalist in Srinagar. They also demanded that forces responsible for his killing should be brought to book at the earliest.
Condemning what it called a "dastardly attack", the Editors Guild of India said that Bukhari was "a voice of moderation and a courageous, big-hearted editor who mentored a large cadre of young journalists from Kashmir".
"The guild calls upon the government of Jammu and Kashmir to take urgent steps to bring to book the culprits and ensure safety and security for the media in the state," it said in a statement.
(With PTI inputs)