After Shujaat Bukhari was shot dead on June 14, the staff at Rising Kashmir, the newspaper he edited, worked all night to ensure the paper came out the following morning. At a remembrance meeting in Delhi on Wednesday, amid the condolences and the sadness was a question: why are honest voices being silenced?
Speaking at the meeting, former Vice President Hamid Ansari said, “A thinking citizen snatched away so brutally. And we all have to think why? Someone said many many years ago, that when freedom is in peril, the first symptoms are found in those who carry the voice of the people…to a larger audience. And his death is an example of it.” He said that there were other instances, of “those who speak honestly” being “punished in the most brutal manner possible”, indicating the instance of Gauri Lankesh’s murder without naming her. “He stood for sanity…sanity in very difficult conditions, knowing fully well that whatever he said was disliked by someone or the other.”
Noting the difficulties of reporting from Kashmir, former Union minister and Congress leader Manish Tewari said that “perhaps it’s coincidental that the meeting is being held on a day that Pakistan is voting to elect its government”. He said, “Shujaat believed, as do I, that destiny of over 2 billion people in south Asia is being held hostage to a very unfortunate zero sum game between India and Pakistan.”
Read | A journalist in the Valley
Amin Bhat, of Adbi Markaz Kamraz in Jammu and Kashmir, said, “We live in a Kashmir where the murdered doesn’t know why he was murdered and the killer doesn’t know why he killed. (Shujaat) was a man based on facts, the facts were all in his favour. If there was anything against him, that was the conspiracy and those who conspired against him.”
Recalling working with Bukhari, Malini Parthasarathy, chairperson of The Hindu, said, “The assassination is a chilling reminder of those who don’t want democratic process and we need to ask why this situation has been allowed to slide.”
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