‘Assassins wanted to kill free thinking’
Srinagar: The media fraternity of Kashmir paid glowing tributes to thier slain colleague, Dr Syed Shuja’at Bukhari, Editor-in-Chief Daily of Rising Kashmir, at a condolence meeting organized Thursday by Kashmir Working Journalists Association (KWJA).
Bukhari was brutally assassinated outside his office in Press Enclave Srinagar last Thursday.
A battery of media professionals gathered at the Department of Information auditorium to commemorate and recall Bukhari’s contribution.
Remembering his two-decades-long professional association with Bukhari, Bureau Chief of NDTV in Srinagar Nazir Masoodi said that “by killing Shuja’at Bukhari the assassins wanted to kill free thinking” in Kashmir. Masoodi described late Bukhari as a “noble soul whose heart would always beat for Kashmir”.
Mufti Islah, Bureau Chief of CNNNews18 in Srinagar, saluted the staff members of Rising Kashmir for discharging their professional duties immediately after the assassination of their editor, late Bukhari.
“We have mourned. Now the challenge is to focus on the future to think how to sustain the institutions that late Bukhari created. I salute your courage. Now carry forward your editor’s mission by producing a body of good work which will be a real tribute to him (Shuja’at Bukhari),” Islah said.
Peerzada Ashiq of The Hindu said that late Bukhari “occupied a space” that did not go well with the enemies of Kashmir.
“Is creating space for a meaningful dialogue a crime? Should he (Shujaat Bukhari) have been killed for alternative thinking and creating a space for Kashmiris for dialogue?” Ashiq asked.
Journalist and commentator Gowhar Geelani said that in a hotly contested place like Kashmir being opinionated is the essence of intellectual growth and symbolizes evolution of society, but “killing someone for a view or idea is a deplorable act and part of regressive thinking”. Geelani showered praise on the editorial staff members of Rising Kashmir for going ahead with the Rising Kashmir issue soon after the assassination of late Bukhari.
“Rising Kashmir staff telegraphed a powerful message to the assassins that their purpose of killing an idea has not worked. The show must go on,” he said. Speakers described late Syed Shuja’at Bukhari as “a multi-dimensional personality who was a journalist, social activist, language activist and a literary personality who nurtured strong passion for promotion of mother tongue, Kashmiri.
Journalist Sameer Yasir who writes for various international media outlets broke down while recollecting memories of his proximity and association with late Bukhari.
Yasir said that Shujaat Bukhari was targeted in a brutal manner for his heart beat for Kashmir and his body of work highlighted the suffering and pain of Kashmiris at all platforms.”
Raashid Maqbool, a member of RK editorial staff, said that his editor had created a space deliberating on peaceful resolution of Kashmir. He said that Bukhari, would never discourage alternate thinking and support the staff despite personal or ideological disagreements.
Faisul Yaseen, political editor Rising Kashmir, said “much before Dr. Shuja’at Bukhari’s killing the media in Kashmir had died its own death.”
Highlighting various aspects of late Bukhari’s professional and personal life, Yaseen said that the former even helped those who he knew were his worst critics and would always say “how does it matter”.
“He was a reporters editor,” Yaseen added. Masood Hussain, editor Kashmir Life, in his condolence message at the end sought suggestions from media fraternity how to sustain independent media outlets in Kashmir.
Hakeem Irfan Rashid of The Economic Times, moderated the proceedings besides presenting vote of thanks and leading condolence prayer at the end.