Adept at con­flict re­port­ing, Bukhari was loved by ju­niors

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - Htnation - Mir Eh­san let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

SRI­NA­GAR: Shu­jaat Bukhari, who was gunned down in Sri­na­gar on Thursday, was one of Kash­mir’s best-known jour­nal­ists who spent three decades cham­pi­oning a peace­ful so­lu­tion to the con­flict.

From his col­lege days, he had a pen­chant for writ­ing and was se­lected as stu­dent editor for Wu­lar — a mag­a­zine pub­lished by De­gree Col­lege, So­pore. He had an acu­men for writ­ing in Urdu and English and loved both lan­guages.

Bukhari be­gan his pro­fes­sional ca­reer in jour­nal­ism at a re­puted English news­pa­per — Kash­mir Times — when mil­i­tancy was at its peak in the mid1990s. He worked as a re­porter in var­i­ous parts of the Val­ley.

Bukhari mas­tered not only the art of con­flict re­port­ing but also po­lit­i­cal reportage. He sur­vived one of the tough­est phases in Kash­mir in the 1990s, when jour­nal­ists faced dif­fi­cul­ties from both mil­i­tants and se­cu­rity forces.

In the early 2000s, he joined The Hindu as its state bureau chief and re­ported on sub­jects in­clud­ing pol­i­tics, mil­i­tancy and hu­man rights, and re­mained as­so­ci­ated with the news­pa­per un­til 2008.

As a se­nior jour­nal­ist, Bukhari shaped the ca­reers of many young jour­nal­ists and was loved in the fra­ter­nity. He also had a brief stint with Ra­dio Deutsche Welle in Ger­many where he re­ported on Kash­mir.

A decade ago, Bukhari es­tab­lished his own news­pa­per, Ris­ing Kash­mir, from Sri­na­gar, which quickly grew to be­come one of the most in­flu­en­tial voices in the state.

He was also a mem­ber of the Kash­mir Ini­tia­tive Group, spon­sored by a UK-based non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tion (NGO). He re­cently at­tended a global con­fer­ence of world edi­tors in Aus­tralia. Bukhari was af­fil­i­ated with sev­eral cul­tural in­sti­tu­tions and as the gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Ad­abi Markaz Kam­raz, com­pris­ing more than 1,100 writ­ers in Kash­mir, he turned the or­gan­i­sa­tion into one of the most prom­i­nent cul­tural bod­ies of the state.

TWO GUARDS KILLED

The two per­sonal se­cu­rity guards, who were also killed in the at­tack, hailed from north Kash­mir’s Kup­wara dis­trict.

Po­lice iden­ti­fied them as Ab­dul Hameed and Mum­taz Ah­mad. While Hameed suc­cumbed to his in­juries on the way to the hos­pi­tal, Ah­mad bat­tled for life for an hour. Doc­tors bat­tled to save Ah­mad but he suc­cumbed soon af­ter surgery.

Both Hameed and Ah­mad were re­cruited in Jammu and Kash­mir Po­lice in early 2000 and hailed from the re­mote Tangh­dar area of north Kash­mir.

Po­lice of­fi­cials said that they were se­lec­tion grade con­sta­bles and were de­puted with the se­nior editor for the past many months. Po­lice of­fi­cials said both con­sta­bles were in their late 20s and are sur­vived by their par­ents. Their bod­ies will be sent to Tangh­dar on Friday morn­ing.

WASEEM ANDRABI/HT PHOTO

The dam­aged car of jour­nal­ist Shu­jaat Bukhari, who was shot dead by uniden­ti­fied gun­men out­side his of­fice at Press Colony in Sri­na­gar on Thursday.

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