TAR­GETED

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - Mir Eh­san

SRI­NA­GAR: A se­nior jour­nal­ist and chief editor of a pop­u­lar Kash­miri news­pa­per was killed on Thursday by uniden­ti­fied gun­men in a drive-by shoot­ing in Sri­na­gar that put an al­ready tense state on edge and led chief min­is­ter Me­hbobba Mufti to de­scribe the at­tack as a “new low for ter­ror­ism”.

Shu­jaat Bukhari, 48, the editor-in-chief of Ris­ing Kash­mir, was tar­geted by three gun­men on a mo­tor­cy­cle while he was in his car, hav­ing just left his Press Colony of­fice just be­fore If­tar. He was ac­com­pa­nied by two se­cu­rity guards, Ab­dul Hameed and Mum­taz Ah­mad, who were also killed as mul­ti­ple bul­lets were sprayed at them.

Union home min­is­ter Ra­j­nath Singh said “there is no doubt that ter­ror­ists have killed Shu­jaat Bhukhari.” He also spoke to the Jammu and Kash­mir CM Me­hbooba Mufti late on Wednesday, and said she was “dis­traught”.

A jour­nal­ist for three decades, he had worked for 15 years at The Hindu and was known in the state and the rest of the coun­try as an im­por­tant Kash­miri voice. No mil­i­tant or­gan­i­sa­tion had taken re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tack by the time of go­ing to print. Bukhari was an ad­vo­cate of a peace­ful res­o­lu­tion of the Kash­mir is­sue and was in­stru­men­tal in or­gan­is­ing sev­eral con­fer­ences in­volv­ing for­mer diplo­mats and gen­er­als from In­dia and Pak­istan.

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The killing of Shu­jaat Bukhari, editor of Ris­ing Kash­mir, in the heart of Sri­na­gar on the eve of Eid, is a huge loss for the state. The con­tin­u­ing tragedy of Kash­mir has claimed its lat­est vic­tim.

I have lost a per­sonal friend in Shu­jaat, who I have known for most of the last two decades. The me­dia fra­ter­nity has been de­prived of a coura­geous jour­nal­ist, fiercely in­de­pen­dent and some­one who could not be boxed in by the fa­mil­iar or­tho­dox­ies that de­fine the pol­i­tics of Kash­mir. And the Val­ley’s civil so­ci­ety will gravely miss one of its most ro­bust voices.

I re­call ac­com­pa­ny­ing the then chief min­is­ter, Mufti Mo­ham­mad Say­eed, to visit Shu­jaat in the ICU of the gov­ern­ment hos­pi­tal in Jammu about three years ago; he had been paral­ysed by un­con­trolled di­a­betes and hy­per­ten­sion.

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