Prominent newspapers in Kashmir this morning have carried reports on the murder of Rising Kashmir Editor-in-Chief Shujaat Bhukari on the front page today.
Calling him ‘A Versatile Voice’, Greater Kashmir spoke of his contribution to journalism in the Valley and the country. The obituary spoke of him launching the first-ever colour offset broadsheet in Kashmiri language. “The Kashmiri weekly Sangarmal would serve as a platform for poets and writers who would express themselves in Kashmiri language,” it says.
In what can only be termed a fitting tribute to Bhukari, Rising Kashmir’s lead story of the day was on United Nations report on rights status in Kashmir. One of Bhukari’s last tweets spoke of the United Nations report on human rights violations in the Valley. The flyer report spoke of wide condemnations of the journalist’s killing. The front-page carried a picture of Bhukari and a remembrance: “You left all too sudden…”
Kashmir Reader’s obituary says, “The killing of a journalist is tantamount to leaving a society voiceless. Journalists are meant to be the voices of the voiceless, the intimidated and the vulnerable. Our colleague, Shujaat Bukhari, a veteran journalist, who served in the field of journalism as a correspondent for The Hindu and later launched his own newspaper, the Rising Kashmir, was killed in a cold blood outside his office in the heart of Srinagar city just a day before Eid ul Fitr.” It adds, “This profession entails boldness and the courage to call spade a spade in the same manner that Shujaat would write or speak while writing, attending or organizing conferences.”
State Times carried a front-page report headlines, “Shujaat, others earned wrath of UJC, LeT for call ‘end militancy in Kashmir’”. The report says that in July, last year, Bukhari was among other participants from Kashmir who attended a three-day event, organised by British NGO Conciliation Resources, in collaboration with the Kashmir Initiative Group in Dubai. The report says, “The event was attended by ‘distinguished’ political and civil society representatives from both sides of Line of Control and for the first time in the past three decades of militancy; a passionate call was given for an ‘end to militancy’.”
It notes that Pakistan newspaper Awaaz-e-Kashmir had reported that the participants’ call for an “end to militancy” was significant, given that India had always accused Pakistan of supporting militancy in the region. On this, the paper said, the participants “accepted” India’s stand. State Times points out that, “This had obviously annoyed the terrorists’ active in Kashmir, their mentors in Pakistan and above all their Over Ground Workers in the Valley.”
One of the Valley’s oldest newspapers Kashmir Times, quotes a Rising Kashmir employee who was present on the spot, “Sir was fasting, he left office from home with his two PSOs. I saw three youths shouting on motorcycle. On reaching back to Press Enclave I was shocked to see him lying in the pool of blood.”
Most newspapers also carried the report of Army jawan Aurangzeb, who was abducted yesterday from Kashmir’s Pulwama district and was found dead on their front pages.
Newslaundry has had a longtime association with Bukhari. You can read his columns here and watch him speak as one of the panelists invited to The Media Rumble last year where he spoke about the increasingly nationalist narrative in mainstream media and how it is blind to the plight of local Kashmiris.
Article image is from the front page of Rising Kashmir.