Srinagar: Senior journalist and chief editor of Rising Kashmir, Shujaat Bukhari, was on Thursday shot dead by unknown gunmen in Srinagar. Two policemen guarding him were also killed in the attack that drew strong condemnation from media fraternity.
Bukhari left office at about 7pm and boarded his car, in which his two guards were also present. Police said “militants” fired on the car at Press Enclave, killing Bukhari and one of his guards on the spot. The other guard was critically injured. He was rushed to hospital where he succumbed, a police spokesperson said.
“Preliminary investigation indicates this to be a terror attack. Police are investigating the case and condemn this gruesome terror act,” the spokesperson added.
Emotional scenes broke out at the police hospital in Srinagar where Bukhari’s body was kept before it was handed over to his family. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti visited the hospital and broke down in tears. She described the killing as “shocking”.
Bukhari’s body was taken to his native Kreeri village in Baramulla for last rites. He was based in Srinagar since he joined journalism three decades ago. He has left behind his wife, a son and a daughter. Rising Kashmir, a newspaper started 10 years ago and published from Srinagar, is among the prominent papers in the Valley. After the attack, the paper decided it won’t hit the stands on Friday, a staffer said. However, after a team of the Kashmir Editors’ Guild (KEG) visited the office, it was decided to publish the newspaper on Friday.
Rising Kashmir political editor Faisul Yaseen said that Bukhari left the office moments before the attack occurred, as he had to visit his father’s place. Basharat Bukhari, Shujaat’s brother who is a minister in the state government, had returned from Mecca on Thursday after performing Umrah.
“A few minutes before leaving, he wanted an AC to be installed in the editor’s office. Soon after he stepped out, we heard a burst of firing. We thought it to be crackers being burst ahead of Eid. After noticing some disturbance outside, we rushed down and saw that his vehicle had been attacked,” said Faisul.
Senior reporter at Rising Kashmir, Sameer Showkin Lone, said that he had left office for home 10 minutes before the attack occurred. “I met his PSO, who was also killed in the attack, and wished him Eid greetings before leaving for home,” said Lone.
Another sub-editor in the paper said with shock and disbelief that he received an email from the chief editor 10 minutes before the attack took place.