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Shujaat Bukhari murder: Kashmir journalists take out rally, seek action against BJP MLA

Scores of journalists, from newspaper owners and editors to correspondents, photographers and journalism students, took out a march from Press Colony to the city centre on Tuesday afternoon. The event culminated in a sit-in protest at Lal Chowk.

india Updated: Jun 26, 2018 18:57 IST
Ashiq Hussain
Ashiq Hussain
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Editors Guild of India,Jammu and Kashmir,Shujaat Bukhari
Journalists hold placards during a silent protest march against the killing of Rising Kashmir newspaper editor-in-chief Shujaat Bukhari, in Srinagar on June 26, 2018.(PTI Photo)

Journalists in Kashmir took out a protest to condemn the killing of senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari for the second time on Tuesday. They also demanded that the governor take action against BJP MLA Choudhary Lal Singh for issuing “threats” to the media fraternity.

Scores of journalists, from newspaper owners and editors to correspondents, photographers and journalism students, took out a march from Press Colony to the city centre in the afternoon. The event culminated in a sit-in protest at Lal Chowk.

The protesters marched under the banner of the Kashmir Editors Guild, carrying banners and placards bearing slogans such as “We will not be cowed down by cowardly acts”, “Words will speak from the graves”, “You can’t censor, silence and suppress press freedom”, “Arrest Lal Singh” and “No bullet can kill an idea”.

Senior journalist Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal described the protest as a collective statement from Valley-based journalists that Bukhari’s brutal murder will not be taken lying down. “In these sensitive times, we have to leave our petty rivalries behind and raise our voice together,” she said.

Bukhari, the 50-year-old editor-in-chief of Rising Kashmir, was shot dead by three motorcycle-borne people outside his office at Srinagar’s Press Colony on June 14. His personal security officers were also killed in the attack.

The murder of Bukhari, who was also involved with newspapers like Buland Kashmir and Sangermal, sent shock waves across the country and drew widespread condemnation.

The protesters said Bukhari’s murder was an attempt to create an atmosphere of fear in the state. “But we want to say that our pens will continue writing and these threats won’t succeed in reining in our journalistic endeavours,” said Gowhar Geelani, another journalist at the protest.

“We demand that Shujaat’s killers be brought to book, and action be taken against BJP MLA Lal Singh for issuing threats against Kashmiri journalists,” the journalist added.

Lal Singh – a former minister – had warned journalists to “mend their ways” in reporting the Kathua rape and murder case on Friday, and referred to Bukhari’s murder as a case in point.

The protest came a day after the Editors Guild of India asked the Jammu and Kashmir governor to take note of the MLA’s “incitement to violence” against the journalist community, and follow up with necessary action. It also demanded that the BJP reprimand Lal Singh and take suitable disciplinary action against him.

Journalists in the Valley had earlier hit the streets to protest Bukhari’s murder on June 18, just a day before the BJP ended its alliance with the Peoples Democratic Party.

First Published: Jun 26, 2018 18:37 IST