Rising Kashmir Editor-in-Chief Shujaat Bukhari was shot dead by unidentified men in Srinagar’s Press Colony on Thursday. (Facebook/Syed Shujaat Bukhari)
The murder of senior journalist and Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari evoked strong responses from top political leaders of the country and journalism bodies. Many of them called the killing an act of cowardice, while the Information and Broadcasting Minister said it was a “brutal attack on press freedom”.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted: “The killing of @RisingKashmireditor, Shujaat Bukhari is an act of cowardice. It is an attempt to silence the saner voices of Kashmir. He was a courageous and fearless journalist. Extremely shocked & pained at his death. My thoughts and prayers are with his bereaved family.”
J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted that the “scourge of terror has reared its ugly head on the eve of Eid”. She said she was “shocked & deeply saddened” by Bukhari’s “sudden demise” and that she “strongly condemn this act of mindless violence & pray for his soul to rest in peace”.
I&B Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore tweeted that the killing was a “brutal attack on freedom of press”. He said the country’s “fearless media” is one of the “greatest strength” of India’s democracy and “we are committed to provide a safe and conducive working environment to media persons”.
J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti with relatives of Shujaat Bukhari in Srinagar on Thursday. PTI
Former J&K CM Omar Abdullah said: “Even in the last tweet he put out he was defending himself, his colleagues & his profession. He died in the line of duty doing what he did best & loved doing — journalism.”
Expressing his condolences, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said, “I’m anguished to hear about the killing of Shujaat Bukhari, editor of @RisingKashmir. He was a brave heart who fought fearlessly for justice and peace in Jammu & Kashmir. My condolences to his family. He will be missed.”
BJP state chief and Nowshera MLA Ravinder Raina condemned the attack. senior BJP leader Ram Madhav said it was “reprehensible” and a “condemnable cowardly act” of the “terrorists”.
The CPM tweeted, “#ShujaatBukhari was a highly respected voice of reason in Kashmir. His murder is a grim reminder about the difficult circumstances in which journalists work when they take an independent position & refuse to toe the line of any lobby or group. CPIM pays homage to his memory.”
The Editors Guild of India tweeted that it “unequivocally condemns the assassination” and termed it a “grave attack on press freedom and democratic voices”.
The Press Club of India called the murder a “mindless terror attack” while the National Union of Journalists (India) said it “joins its” Jammu and Kashmir unit “in strongly condemning the gruesome murder” of Bukhari. Amnesty India called Bukhari a “brave and outspoken voice for justice and equality in Jammu and Kashmir” in a tweet.
The killing was also condemned by separatist leaders. Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said: “Deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic news of Shujaat Bukhari’s killing! Such inhumanity is unpardonable and condemned in strongest terms! Proud son of the soil, his death is a huge loss. Shujaat was an erudite intellectual and a fearless journalist and above all a selfless…”
Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani said: “It is against the moral and human ethics to kill anybody without justification. The difference of opinion is no way a crime to kill a person.”