Srinagar,June 14 :A couple of people in groups were busy in colloquy at different points of Press Enclave here in Kashmir capital Srinagar when the atmosphere reverberated with gun shots at around 7pm this evening.
Everyone started running for cover as nobody was able to comprehend the situation. “I thought it were fire crackers set in air by some enthusiastic signalling the sighting of Eid crescent. After brief lull we came to know Shujhat Bukhari, the Editor-in-Chief of Daily Rising Kashmir has been shot,” said an eyewitness.
Bukhari as per reports and eyewitness came down from his office to board his vehicle waiting in Press Enclave Srinagar. His security guards were already waiting for him near the vehicle.
As they boarded the vehicle to leave for destination, suddenly armed men, four in number as per eyewitnesses emerged and fired indiscriminately on them. Witnesses added that armed men emptied two magazines, some of the bullets hit the wall of the adjacent building. “They fired at least 70 bullets creating panic in the busy market,” said an eyewitness.
A CNS reporter said that he called Police Control Room informing them about the incident. Press Enclave is a security area where policemen in plain clothes always remain present.
Witnesses claimed that two armed men after targeting senior journalist escaped from the narrow lane of Press Enclave that ends at Abi Guzar while two others took Residency Road route.
Shujhat Bukhari and his PSO suffered serious bullet injuries who died in hospital shortly they were brought there. The incident sent shockwaves among journalist fraternity. “The armed men probably took advantage of Eid rush and chose Iftaar timing for the attack. Usually, there is no proper security vigil on these occasions.”
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, former CM Omar Abdullah and others condemned this drastic killing. WhatsApp groups operated by journalists were flooded with messages condemning the killing of Bukhari. “It’s a naked terrorism,” wrote a journalist.
Bukhari, who had served in different local, national and international media houses is survived by two children.
Kashmir Press Club, Jammu Press Club, Kashmir Editors Guild, Jammu Kashmir Editors Association, Current News Service have mourned the loss of veteran journalist.
Shujaat Bukhari was a Srinagar-based journalist. He was considered an expert on the situation in the Valley, having written columns for some of the most prestigious news organisations in the world.
He was the Editor-in-Chief of Rising Kashmir, a Srinagar-based daily.
He was previously the Kashmir Bureau Chief of The Hindu, a post he held for 15 years.
He was also the president of Adbee Markaz Kamraz, the biggest and oldest cultural and literary organisation of Valley.
He did his Masters in Journalism from Ateneo de Manila University, Manila as a fellow of the Asian Centre for Journalism, Singapore.
He was a recipient of the World Press Institute (WPI) USA fellowship and Asian Centre for Journalism Singapore fellowship.
Bukhari was also a fellow at East West Centre at Hawaii, USA.
Shujaat had survived three assassination attempts in the past.
Bukhari had been under police protection since an attack on him in 2000.
His paper, Rising Kashmir, had been subjected to government censorship on multiple occasions.
He was instrumental in organising several conferences for peace in the Kashmir valley.
He had been part of India’s delegation for Track II (talks that happen outside of official government authorities) process with Pakistan. The talks had happened in Dubai in 2017