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Shujaat Bukhari, journalist who championed peace in Kashmir for 30 years

Senior journalist and chief editor of a popular Kashmiri newspaper, Shujaat Bukhari, was killed on Thursday by unidentified gunmen in Srinagar.

india Updated: Jun 15, 2018 10:10 IST
Mir Ehsan
Mir Ehsan
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Shujaat Bukhari,Shujaat Bukhari shot dead,Shujaat Bukhari killed in Srinagar
A photo from journalist Shujaat Bukhari's Twitter account, who was shot dead by gunmen in Srinagar on June 14.(PTI Photo)

Shujaat Bukhari, who was gunned down in Srinagar on Thursday, was one of Kashmir’s best-known journalists who spent three decades championing a peaceful solution to the conflict.

From his college days, he had a penchant for writing and was selected as student editor for Wular — a magazine published by Degree College, Sopore. He had an acumen for writing in Urdu and English and loved both languages.

Bukhari began his professional career in journalism at a reputed English newspaper — Kashmir Times — when militancy was at its peak in the mid-1990s. He worked as a reporter in various parts of the Valley.

Bukhari mastered not only the art of conflict reporting but also political reportage. He survived one of the toughest phases in Kashmir in the 1990s, when journalists faced difficulties from both militants and security forces.

In the early 2000s, he joined The Hindu as its state bureau chief and reported on subjects including politics, militancy and human rights, and remained associated with the newspaper until 2008.

As a senior journalist, Bukhari shaped the careers of many young journalists and was loved in the fraternity. He also had a brief stint with Radio Deutsche Welle in Germany where he reported on Kashmir.

A decade ago, Bukhari established his own newspaper, Rising Kashmir, from Srinagar, which quickly grew to become one of the most influential voices in the state.

He was also a member of the Kashmir Initiative Group, sponsored by a UK-based non-governmental organisation (NGO). He recently attended a global conference of world editors in Australia. Bukhari was affiliated with several cultural institutions and as the general secretary of the Adabi Markaz Kamraz,comprising more than 1,100 writers in Kashmir, he turned the organisation into one of the most prominent cultural bodies of the state.

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti arrives at a police control room to meet family members of journalist Shujaat Bukhari in Srinagar. (AP Photo)

Two guards killed

The two personal security guards, who were also killed in the attack, hailed from north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.

Police identified them as Abdul Hameed and Mumtaz Ahmad. While Hameed succumbed to his injuries on the way to the hospital, Ahmad battled for life for an hour. Doctors battled to save Ahmad but he succumbed soon after surgery.

Both Hameed and Ahmad were recruited in Jammu and Kashmir Police in early 2000 and hailed from the remote Tanghdar area of north Kashmir.

Police officials said that they were selection grade constables and were deputed with the senior editor for the past many months. Police officials said both constables were in their late 20s and are survived by their parents. Their bodies will be sent to Tanghdar on Friday morning.

First Published: Jun 15, 2018 07:34 IST