Veteran journalist shot dead in India-held Kashmir
15 June, 2018, 13:24 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
Terror struck a bloody blow in the run-up to Eid-ul- Fitr as unidentified gunmen shot dead a veteran journalist and his two personal security officers in the heart of Srinagar on Thursday evening.
The 52-year-old editor of English daily Rising Kashmir was shot dead inside his vehicle moments after stepping out of his office at the busy and well-guarded press enclave in Srinagar to travel to an iftaar.
Witnesses said Bukhari died on the spot while the assailants fled immediately after the attack.
Several journalist bodies condemned the killing and demanded swift action against the forces responsible for his killing.
State police chief SP Vaid said that it was around 7.15 p.m., the Iftar time, that Bukhari came out of his office in Press Enclave and was boarding his auto when he was attacked by militants.
No group has so far claimed responsibility. "Highlighting any wrongdoing by the militants or separatists could easily mean that he is "anti-tehreek" (anti-movement) or a "collaborator".
An eyewitness told Al Jazeera that he heard the intense firing which left the journalist along with his two security guards lying in a pool of blood in a vehicle. They first assumed they were firecrackers being set off in anticipation of the Islamic festival of Eid-al-Fitr. "One would always see him raising issues of common cause concerning people".
The Editors Guild of India condemned the "dastardly attack" on Shujaat Bukhari, calling it a "new low". "We did it as a tribute to him", Shah said.
A witness told the Guardian he rushed to the area after hearing shots and found the editor slumped in his vehicle. "The preliminary investigation has shown that around three to four gunmen were involved, but the number could be more", said a senior police official posted in Srinagar. "The attackers knew the routine".
Apart from running three daily newspapers, including the English language daily Rising Kashmir, Mr Bukhari lobbied aggressively for peace by organising conferences and summits in the US, UK and other parts of the world.
Entire Jammu & Kashmir state went into a mourning mode soon after Bukhari's demise was splashed on national and local news channel.
The journalist had been given five security guards by the government after a murder attempt in 2000.
The Congress said it was anguished, with party President Rahul Gandhi terming Bukhari "a courageous heart who fought fearlessly for justice and peace". A temporary, unilateral ceasefire announced by the government for Ramadan ends on Friday.
Known for encouraging young and budding journalists in Kashmir, Bukhari, an avid social media user, would often talk about the threat to Kashmir journalism in a conflict situation.
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