Good Editor Never Sleeps: #RIPShujaatBukhari, Profile of a Late Editor
Srinagar: Sending shock waves across Kashmir, the killing of senior Journalist and Editor, Syed Shujaat Bukhari, is being widely condemned and condoled.
Bukhari, promoter of Kashmir Media Group (KMG) which published popular newspaper, the Rising Kashmir, was shot dead outside his newspaper office at Mushtaq Ali Enclave in Srinagar’s Lal Chowk. He was hit by bullets when unknown assailants, at least four in number, opened fire on his SUV.
Bukhari was accompanied by at least two Personal Security Officers (PSOs) which were allotted to him in 2006 by J&K government. One of the PSOs also died on the spot while as another succumbed in the hospital. Shujaat had survived three assassination attempts in the past.
The unknown gunmen struck in Mushtaq Ali Enclave which houses major and most of the Kashmir media offices – a very busy street. He was on way home after attending an Iftar party in his office.
His body was taken to his native place at Kreeri in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, where he will be laid to rest on Friday at his ancestral graveyard at 11 am.
The killing of a journalist, who tread a very difficult path in Kashmir, is not new to Kashmir. 16 years ago, editor of a reputed Urdu vernacular, Alsafa, was shot dead by unknown gunmen. He was Mohammad Shaban Vakil.
On Feb 1, 2003, Parvaz Mohammed Sultan, editor of a local news agency NAFA was shot dead in his office.
On September 10, 1995 cameraman Mushtaq Ali, after whom Kashmir media enclave was named, was killed in a bomb attack believed to be aimed at former BBC correspondent Yusuf Jameel who miraculously escaped with injuries. At least half a dozen journalists have been killed in Srinagar in the past 28 years.
Know who was Shujaat Bukhari
Shujaat Bukhari, in his 50s, was a Srinagar-based scribe and Editor-in-Chief of the Rising Kashmir, a Srinagar-based local daily newspaper promoted and published by Kashmir Media Group instituted in 2008.
Earlier, he was Bureau Chief of The Hindu newspaper.
Bukhari had done Masters in Journalism fromAteneo de Manila University, Manila as a fellow of Asian Centre for Journalism, Singapore. Bukhari was also a fellow at East West Centre at Hawaii, USA.
He is married and is survived by wife and two children. In 2015, a strong Bukhari survived a massive heart-break in Jammu from where he was airlifted to Delhi and then to United States.
Widely travelled Bukhari wrote in at least four languages: Kashmiri, Urdu, English and Hindi. He was a popular and frequent face on TV debates.
He was a recipient of World Press Institute (WPI) fellowship in United States of America where he completed PhD.
He was also the former president of Adbee Markaz Kamraz, one of many cultural and literary organization of Valley working in northern parts of Kashmir.
On July 8, 1996, government-backed militant group Ikhwan abducted 19 local journalists in Anantnag district and held them as hostages for at least seven hours. Bukhari was among those “abducted”.
Reporters Without Borders, an international NGO that promotes freedom off press, had once told ifex.org that in 2006, as Bukhari left his office (then The Indian Express) in Srinagar, he was abducted by two men who drove him several kilometres away from the city. However, when one of them tried to shoot the journalist, the gun jammed and Bukhari managed to escape.
Bukhari later told Reporters Without Borders that the instigators and perpetrators of this kind of attack are rarely caught in Kashmir. “It is virtually impossible to know who are our enemies and who are our friends,” he had said.
J&K Police launch Probe
Jammu and Kashmir police launched investigation in to the killing of Bukhari, ANI reported.
“An investigation has been launched by the Police in the killing of Editor of Rising Kashmir newspaper Shujaat Bukhari. Our preliminary investigation indicates that it was a terror attack: J&K Police,” the ANI report added.
Difference of opinion is no way a crime: Geelani
Hurriyat patriarch, Syed Ali Geelani, strongly condemned the killing of Shujaat Bukhari by unknown gunmen in Srinagar.
Geelani, who is All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman, said, “it is against the moral and human ethics to kill a person without any justification.”
Regretting such mysterious killings, Geelani said in a statement issued late on Thursday evening, “difference of opinion is no way a crime to kill a person.” While paying his condolences to the bereaved family of the young journalist, he prayed for his eternal peace.
Indian National Congress Chief, Rahul Ghandi, tweeted: “I’m anguished to hear about the killing of Shujaat Bukhari, editor of Rising Kashmir. He was a brave heart who fought fearlessly for justice and peace in Jammu & Kashmir. My condolences to his family. He will be missed.”
West Bengal chief minister, Mamta Banerjee, said: “Saddened and shocked at the brutal killing of respected editor and senior journalist @bukharishujaat With a few hours to go for Eid this is terrible. No words are enough for this big tragedy.”
“This is a shameful act. Media is free in India. The state govt & the central govt are committed for the freedom of press in the country & the state,” said Indian government minister, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, on the killing of Shujaat Bukhari.
Long-time friend and senior Journalist, Iftikhar Gilani, said: “Had a conversation with him just 20 minutes before the incident. It’s really shocking. This is the situation of journalists in Kashmir. Jinke haath khoon se range huye hain, unko introspect karna hoga.”
Editors Guild of India speaks
The Editors Guild of India has condemned the dastardly attack on Srinagar-based senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari on Thursday evening that later led to his death.
Mr 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. An attack on a journalist challenges the very foundations of a free press and vibrant democracy and more so in a state like Jammu and Kashmir that is going through militancy.
The Guild also calls upon the state and central government to enhance security for all journalists in Jammu and Kashmir. Recent weeks have also seen threats of violence against many journalists in different parts of the country.
The killing of Mr Bukhari is a new low in a rapidly deteriorating environment for media practitioners in Kashmir, in particular, and in the country in general.
The Guild calls upon the Centre to take note of the developments and take necessary steps to ensure a situation where the media can discharge its duties without any fear of violence. The state and central governments must enhance security for all journalists in Jammu and Kashmir.