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Survival is The First Challenge for Journalism in Kashmir, Shujaat Bukhari Wrote 3 Months Ago

Bukhari, an eminent journalist from Kashmir, was known to be a bold voice from the Valley. He had survived three assassination attempts on previous occasions.

Sheikh Saaliq | News18.com@sheikh_saaliq

Updated:June 15, 2018, 12:52 PM IST
“Survival is the first challenge for any journalism venture in Kashmir” Shujaat Bukhari wrote three months ago in an editorial to commemorate the tenth anniversary of his newspaper, Rising Kashmir.

On Thursday, he was killed by a hail of bullets outside his newspaper’s office in the heart of Srinagar by bike-borne gunmen. His personal security officer assigned to him by Jammu and Kashmir police was also killed in the attack.

Bukhari, an eminent journalist from Kashmir, was known to be a bold voice from the Valley. He had survived three assassination attempts on previous occasions. He was the brother of Basharat Bukhari, who is a PDP leader and an MLA from the Sangrama constituency in North Kashmir.

Bukahri had extensively worked with The Hindu and was Bureau Chief of the esteemed daily.

Recipient of World Press Institute USA fellowship, Bukhari had done his Masters in Journalism from Ateneo de Manila University, Manila as a fellow of Asian Centre for Journalism. Bukhari was also a fellow at East West Centre at USA’s Hawaii.

Known for his balanced editorials, Bukhari frequently wrote on the Kashmir issue.

In one of his recent columns for Rising Kashmir, Bukhari had written about the Ramzan Ceasefire and how it was a positive step in normalizing the situation in Kashmir.

Bukhari had written: “Despite the scepticism from various quarters and even outright rejection, the announcement came as a glimmer of hope for the common people who have been suffering due to the continuous grind of violence. Death of both the militants who have joined the ranks in past few years and the civilians who become the collateral damage has become unbearable.”

Another of Bukhari’s recent column in the newspaper Rising Kashmir which he edited, talked extensively about the need of revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFPSA) from the valley.

In the column, Bukhari had written: “Why is AFSPA despised in Kashmir? It is not just the law that has infringed upon civil liberties in the state, but also the large footprint of the armed forces in the name of security, who have abused their unbridled powers. Examples of Pathribal, Bandipore, Ganderbal, Handwara and Machil staged encounters are still fresh in the minds of the people.”

Bukhari, in many of his written works, had called for an end to the cross-border firing along the Line of Control (LoC). In an article on March 3 this year when the LoC was witnessing rampant cross-border firing, Bukhari had written how the ceasefire violations ended up harming both the countries.

“As things have gone from bad to worse what is missing is a Standard Operating Procedure that could be followed in a ceasefire. A mechanism is also missing and nearly no contact between the two countries is adding to the woes of the people,” Bukhari had written in the article.

Bukhari’s last column for Rising Kashmir was on fake news, which he called a “multifarious challenge that had come mostly with fast changing technology.” The article was written after he had come back from Lisbon, where he participated as a speaker during the Global Editors Network summit.

Bukhari was also a known face in events that focused on the Kashmir conflict. His recent appearance was during the book launch of ‘The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace’ jointly authored by former RAW chief Amarjit Singh Dulat and former ISI chief Mohammad Asad Durrani, besides journalist and author, Aditya Sinha.

During the event, Bukhari had put forth his views on the recent spurt in militancy in Kashmir. Bukhari, during the event, had said: “The generation born after 1989 only saw barrel of guns and the incidents like the speed tracking of execution of Muhammad Afzal Guru that only fueled militancy in the State.”

Being critical of the Modi government at the center, Bukhari said, “New Delhi’s Kashmir policy since the beginning had not been based on justice and fairness while the Modi government had pushed them to the wall.”
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