Photograph: Kind courtesy @bukharishujaat/Twitter
Veteran journalist and Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari and one of his personal security officers were shot dead by unidentified gunmen outside the newspaper’s office in the heart of this Jammu and Kashmir summer capital, police officials said on Thursday.
Bukhari, who was in his 50s, was leaving his office in Press Enclave in the city centre Lal Chowk for an Iftar when he was shot, officials said.
While one of the PSOs guarding him was killed, another policeman and a civilian were injured, they added.
The condition of the two injured in the shooting, which comes a day ahead of Eid, is critical, they said.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said in a message that she was shocked and saddened by Bukhari’s ‘sudden demise’.
“The scourge of terror has reared its ugly head on the eve of Eid. I strongly condemn this act of mindless violence & pray for his soul to rest in peace. My deepest condolences to his family,” the chief minister said on Twitter.
Terrorism, she said, has hit a new low with Bukhari’s killing, ‘that too on the eve of Eid’.
‘We must unite against forces seeking to undermine our attempts to restore peace. Justice will be done,’ Mehbooba said.
Later, visiting the hospital, she said, “This is really shocking. He came to meet me a few days back. This is upsetting.”
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh also condemned the killing.
‘Killing of Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari is act of cowardice. It is an attempt to silence the saner voices of Kashmir.
‘He was a courageous and fearless journalist. Extremely shocked and pained. My thoughts and prayers are with his bereaved family,’ he said in a tweet.
Former J&K CM Omar Abdullah tweeted, ‘inna lilahi wa inna illahi rajiuun. Shocked beyond words. May Shujaat find place in Jannat and May his loved ones find strength at this difficult time.’
Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted, ‘I’m anguished to hear about the killing of Shujaat Bukhari, editor of Rising Kashmir. He was a brave heart who fought fearlessly for justice and peace in Jammu & Kashmir. My condolences to his family. He will be missed’.
It was not immediately clear how many gunmen attacked Bukhari, who earlier worked with The Hindu newspaper as its Kashmir correspondent.
Bukhari was instrumental in organising several conferences for peace in the Kashmir Valley.
He was also part of the Track II process with Pakistan.
With ANI inputs