Senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari, editor of the daily Rising Kashmir, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen Thursday evening as he left his office in Srinagar’s Press Enclave. His personal security officer was also killed in the attack while another security guard was critically injured.
Bukhari was 51. He is survived by his wife Tahmeena, son Tamheed and daughter Duriya. His brother Basharat Bukhari, a broadcaster-turned-politician, is a senior PDP leader and Minister for Horticulture, Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs in the Mehbooba Mufti-led government. READ | Who was Shujaat Bukhari?
The killings, on the eve of Eid, left Srinagar stunned and there was all-round condemnation. Bukhari was among those who had welcomed the Centre’s announcement of suspension of security operations during Ramzan — the ceasefire announcement, he wrote, “came as a glimmer of hope for the common people who have been suffering due to the continuous grind of violence”.
Director General of Police S P Vaid told The Indian Express: “He (Bukhari) has been shot dead. There were three to four of them (gunmen). It was obviously targeted fire. They fired directly (at him)”. He said one of Bukhari’s PSO had been killed and another injured.
The attack took place in the evening as Bukhari stepped out of his office and sat in his car. There was heavy firing and the gunmen, who had come on motorcycles, fled, taking advantage of the rush in the market ahead of Eid.
Other than Rising Kashmir, Bukhari also edited Urdu daily Buland Kashmir, Urdu weekly Kashmir Parcham and Kashmiri vernacular Sangarmaal. Before taking over as editor of Rising Kashmir, he was the Jammu and Kashmir bureau chief of The Hindu newspaper.
In June 2006, Bukhari was abducted from Srinagar by unidentified gunmen but managed to escape. Following the incident, he was provided security by the government.
This is the first killing of a journalist in the Valley since 2003 when Parvaz Mohammad Sultan was shot dead by gunmen at the same place. A year later, on April 20, 2004, journalist-turned-rights activist Asiya Jeelani was killed in a landmine explosion in Kupwara on the eve of the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.