Veteran journalist Ved Bhasin, credited with institutionalising journalism in Jammu and Kashmir, passed away on Thursday night after a brief illness. He was 86.
Bhasin, Founder Editor and Chairman of Kashmir Times Group of Publications, breathed his last at his Gandhi Nagar residence. He was given a farewell at Jogi Gate Friday.
Over his seven-decade career, Bhasin remained an advocate of justice, peace, and human rights. He was highly respected in journalistic circles for his integrity and intellectual acumen.
He also earned foes for his fearless writings on those caught in the crossfire between security forces and militants.
To squeeze him financially, several state s stopped issuing advertisements to his newspaper from time to time. That, however, did not silence Bhasin. He was close to every Chief Minister of the state, starting from Sheikh Abdullah to Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, but never hesitated to write against their governments. Even separatists like Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Maulvi Farooq and Yasin Malik respected him.
Bhasin did not spare militants as well. In 1989, when members of Jammu Kashmir Students Liberation Front abducted Rubiya Sayeed, daughter of then Home Minister Mufti, he termed it an “an act of cowardice.”
The state was gripped by militancy in the early 1990s and this led to a regional polarisation. Bhasin, however, continued to write about the common man who had become a victim of the volatile situation. Many in Jammu criticised him for being pro-Valley and he was attacked several times.
Bhasin was a strong advocate of a peaceful resolution to the Kashmir issue.