NEW DELHI (Web Desk) Veteran Kashmiri journalist Shujaat Bukhari was shot dead with his security guard in Srinagar on Thursday, reports said.
The audacious attack by motorcycle-borne assassins has left Srinagar’s media community shaken. Bukhari, former correspondent for The Hindu and the editor of the Rising Kashmir newspaper, was attacked when he had stepped out of his office in Press Colony in the city. He was hit by multiple bullets at close range.
A security guard on his protection detail was also shot dead while another was injured.
This is the first attack on a journalist in a long time in Kashmir and provoked widespread shock and condemnation, reports said.
“It’s a very unfortunate incident. Today at about 7:30pm when he was coming out of his office and boarding his car, three terrorists came on a motorcycle and opened fire. Two of his PSOs [personal security officers]were also hit and one of them is no more the other is under treatment. They were shot before they could react,” Jammu and Kashmir police chief SP Vaid told NDTV.
“They [the terrorists] chose the Iftar time when everybody was rushing home. We will look into who these people are,” he added.
Bukhari was given police protection since an attack on him in 2000. He was instrumental in organising several conferences for peace in the Kashmir valley. He was also part of the Track II process with Pakistan.
Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh condemned the murder. “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.”
The Press Club of India strongly condemned Bukhari’s killing.
“Press Club of India is shocked and saddened by this mindless terror attack that claimed the life of Shujaat Bukhari in the holy month of Ramazan… [it] shows that lives of journalists are not at all safe. Forces inimical to restoring peace in Kashmir Valley have silenced a voice of reason, logic and peace,” it said in a statement.
The attack took place hours after Home Minister Rajnath Singh held a security review meeting for the annual Amarnath pilgrimage that starts later this month.