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Another journalist killed: This time it’s Rising Kashmir Editor Shujaat Bukhari

After the high-profile killing of Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru last year, Shujaat Bukhari, Editor of Rising Kashmir fell prey to gunmen’s bullets in Srinagar yesterday (June 14, 2018). 

In a statement issued, the Jammu & Kashmir Police called Bukhari’s killing “a terror act”. 

Bukhari was shot dead by three gunmen riding a bike as he was leaving his newspaper’s office located at Press Enclave near Lal Chowk in Srinagar on Thursday evening. Two of his security officers were also killed in the attack. 

Bukhari, who was the brother of Bashrat Ahmed Bukhari, a minister in the Mehbooba Mufti government, was earlier working with The Hindu for several years as state correspondent. He had been a strong proponent of human rights and independence of journalists, especially highlighting the tough and often dangerous conditions under which journalists operate in Jammu & Kashmir. 

According to a report, Bukhari is the 19th journalist killed in Kashmir since 1990. The journalists were either directly targeted or caught in the cross-fire while reporting from conflict zones. 

There has been an outpouring of grief and outrage on social media over Bukhari’s killing. The Editors Guild of India tweeted, “The Editors Guild of India unequivocally condemns the assassination of Rising Kashmir Editor Shujaat Bukhari. This is a grave attack on press freedom and democratic voices.” 

In a detailed statement issued, the Guild urged the state and central governments to increase security for all journalists in Jammu & Kashmir. The Guild also pointed out in its statement that the recent weeks had seen threats of violence against several journalists in different parts of the country. “The killing of Bukhari is a new low in a rapidly deteriorating environment for media practitioners in Kashmir, in particular, and in the country in general,” it lamented. 

Siddharth Varadarajan tweeted, “Shujaat Bukhari and I were colleagues at The Hindu. He was a formidable reporter, and, as editor of Rising Kashmir, a powerful voice for the embattled media fraternity, a true voice of sanity and reason. No words of condemnation are enough for the scum who have assassinated him.”

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