Death of editor-in-chief of Rising Kashmir and veteran journalist Shujaat Bukhari shocked the nation. The incident took place during conditional ceasefire in Kashmir to observe the holy month of Ramadan. This 50-year old journalist was leaving his office in Press Enclave to attend an iftar party when he was shot.
Though initially unidentified, police finally managed to track down one of the suspects. Identified as Zubair Qayoom, he wasn’t with the other three gunmen but came back later to pick up the gun. The weapon was recovered from him after the arrest.
Shujaat Bukhari was known as being a fearless journalist who never stepped away from reporting the truth about the conflicts of this beautiful valley. Naturally, dignitaries from all across the nation shared their condolences.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted:
The killing of @RisingKashmir editor, 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.
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) June 14, 2018
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti wrote:
Shocked & deeply saddened by the sudden demise of Shujaat Bukhari. The scourge of terror has reared its ugly head on the eve of Eid. I strongly condemn this act of mindless violence & pray for his soul to rest in peace. My deepest condolences to his family.
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) June 14, 2018
Congress president Rahul Gandhi posted:
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.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) June 14, 2018
Former President Pranab Mukherjee wrote:
I am shocked at the gruesome murder of #ShujaatBukhari. Such mindless violence does not have any place in our country. My deepest condolences to his family & friends. His voice will never be silenced.
— Pranab Mukherjee (@CitiznMukherjee) June 15, 2018
Amidst this, Pakistan foreign office tried to link the death of the journalist to a report on Kashmir by UN in an attempt to give a new angle to this heinous crime. The report was published by The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. They alleged that the human rights are violated in Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). They further demanded an international probe into the same. India termed the report as ‘fallacious, tendentious and motivated.’
Response by @MEAIndia :
“India rejects the report. It is fallacious, tendentious and motivated. We question the intent in bringing out such a report.
It is a selective compilation of largely unverified information. It is overtly prejudiced and seeks to build a false narrative.” pic.twitter.com/r37KpW1FAU
— India at UN, Geneva (@IndiaUNGeneva) June 14, 2018
The Pakistan foreign office further alleged that it was a ‘terrible coincidence’ that Bukhari lost his life just hours within publication of this report. Here’s the tweet:
Kashmiri jounalist Shujjat Bukhari’s targeted killing within hours of his tweet on the OHCHR report on Jammu & Kashmir – terrible coincidence, raises serious questions – India should investigate and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice
— Dr Mohammad Faisal (@ForeignOfficePk) June 14, 2018
However, former Chief Minister of J&K slammed the Pakistan official for trying to politicize the murder of the journalist. He said:
If you had to politicise Shujaat’s death the least you could have done is show him the basic courtesy of getting his name right – it’s Bukhari not Bukhara or is that too much to ask? https://t.co/9qQ67ftzUmAdvertisement— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) June 14, 2018
Never one to resist playing in Kashmir’s troubled waters Pakistan floats the conspiracy theory that #ShujaatBhukari was killed because he tweeted about today’s Human Rights report. #Shame https://t.co/9qQ67ftzUm
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) June 14, 2018
Obviously, the entire journalistic community is deeply saddened by his death and they are calling it an attack on freedom of press. Also, the netizens spoke up against this gruesome violence. Besides offering their condolences, they also demanded justice for this fallen soldier of the fourth estate. Here are some of the tweets:
Shocking.. Editor of Rising Kashmir Shujaat Bukhari shot dead by terrorists in Srinagar. Indian media is so busy in discussing fake death threats to fake journalists that we almost forget those who are at real risk. #ShujaatBukhari
— Paresh Rawal fn (@Babu_Bhaiyaa) June 14, 2018
#ShujaatBukhari killed by Islamic Terrorists.
According to @BDUTT he is NOT killed by Islamic people but by “Hyper Nationalist Right Wing people of Twitter”.
Hail her Journalism.
— Aashu 🚩 (@AashuSpeak) June 15, 2018
Shocked and saddened by the killing of #ShujaatBukhari, leading journalist and editor of @RisingKashmir, and his personal security officers. Our thoughts go out to their family and friends. We condemn this brutal attack on press freedom
— Alexandre Ziegler (@FranceinIndia) June 15, 2018
#ShujaatBukhari unless we recognize that kashmir is an islamic problem and islam doesn’t believe in democracy, we can’t find any solution
— ravindra kumar (@ravindrakumar46) June 16, 2018
This country faces scarcity of journalists as one more true journalist dies… #ShujaatBukhari
— Himanshu Singh (@Himansh74296670) June 16, 2018
The murder of a journalist is always the murder of free speech. Any serious democracy must take it as a warning. #ShujaatBukhari
— Rahul Puri (@rahulpuri) June 16, 2018
Same here. Valley is under thick carpet of grief. While he was laid to rest at his graveyard , there were thick clouds hovering in the sky. Eyes, sky and earth everything is moist. #ShujaatBukhari
— Tabeenah Anjum (@TabeenahAnjum) June 16, 2018
The fact is that he was killed in broad day light in the heart of city! That is a mattet of shame for our securty setup @JmuKmrPolice. Qstn is #why? And its imp yo find out by #whom? @rajnathsingh who are those wh are agnst #peace? RIP #ShujaatBukhari
— Mudassir🎖 (@KingAchelleus) June 16, 2018
During this conditional ceasefire, Indian Army soldier named Aurangzeb was kidnapped and later brutally killed. Following these incidents, Indian government is revisiting its decision and there are talks of revoking the ceasefire.