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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