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Kashmir’s senior journalist and his two personal security officers were shot dead yesterday in the heart of Srinagar.
The city’s police said they have been able to obtain photos from CCTV footage of the suspects involved in the attack in Press Colony that killed the respected journalist. The photos show three men on a motorbike with the rider’s face obscured by a helmet and one of the two pillion riders wearing a mask covering the lower half of his face.
General public is requested to identify the suspects in pictures involved in today’s terror attack at press enclave… https://t.co/97pCc7ZJ32
— Kashmir Zone Police (@KashmirPolice) 1529001366000
Their description corresponds with that of eyewitnesses who reported seeing four men riding two motorcycles wearing helmets and shalwar kameez outside the office of Rising Kashmir near Lal Chowk at 7.30pm yesterday just as Bukhari boarded his vehicle. The two pillion riders fired indiscriminately, they said, killing Bukhari and one of his security officers on the spot. The other security official died in hospital.
Today, Rising Kashmir published an edition of the newspaper. with its front page carrying the full-page photograph of its late editor-in-chief in black background. The page also carried the message that the paper would not be cowed in the face of such violence.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said it’s what Bukhari would have wanted.
The show must go on. As Shujaat would have wanted it to. This is today’s @RisingKashmir issue. That Shujaat’s colle… https://t.co/eHRXzfRxhP
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) 1529002166000
Bukhari, 49, was the editor of Rising Kashmir, an English language daily, and the brother of Basharat Bukhari, a minister in the J&K government. His killing, and that of an Army jawan, came just two days before the Centre’s “unilateral ceasefire” against militants is scheduled to end amid extensive debate on whether it should be extended.
Bukhari had been given police protection following an attack on him in 2000. He was instrumental in organising conferences for peace in Kashmir. He was also part of the Track II process with Pakistan. Many questioned the effectiveness of the “unilateral ceasefire” which the Narendra Modi government at the Centre had declared a month ago in view of Ramzan, and the consensual demand of the Mehbooba Mufti-led BJP-PDP coalition government as well as the opposition in Jammu & Kashmir.
Condemnation of the killing poured in with Union home minister Rajnath Singh describing Bukhari’s killing as “an act of cowardice”.
In a tweet, Singh described the attack as “an attempt to silence the saner voices of Kashmir.” Singh called him a “courageous and fearless journalist.”
The killing of @RisingKashmir editor, Shujaat Bukhari is an act of cowardice. It is an attempt to silence the saner… https://t.co/k9WU9MvUPM
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) 1528987617000
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi expressed his anguish over the killing, describing Bukhari as “a brave heart who fought fearlessly for justice and peace in Jammu & Kashmir”.
I’m anguished to hear about the killing of Shujaat Bukhari, editor of @RisingKashmir. He was a brave heart who foug… https://t.co/ptb7OfFCFM
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) 1528988483000
A visibly upset J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti said the “scourge of terror has reared its ugly head on the eve of Eid. I strongly condemn this act of mindless violence.” She said terrorism had “hit a new low” with Bukhari’s killing “to undermine” the government’s “attempts to restore peace”. “Justice will be done,” she said.
Terrorism has hit a new low with Shujaat’s killing. That too, on the eve of Eid. We must unite against forces seeki… https://t.co/hfNCF3hHbS
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) 1528987032000
Bukhari worked for ‘The Hindu’ as its Kashmir correspondent for several years before launching Rising Kashmir 10 years ago.
The Army jawan who was abducted by terrorists and whose bullet-ridden body was found in Kashmir’s Pulwama district was identified as Aurangzeb of 44 RR. He was abducted while proceeding on leave for Eid celebrations at his home in the Jammu region. The soldier, believed to be part of a group that killed Hizb terrorist Sameer Tiger on April 30, was abducted at the district’s Kalampora village.