Shujaat Bukhari, Editor of ‘Rising Kashmir’, Shot Dead in Srinagar

From TheWire.in

[Kabir’s Note: This is extremely tragic. We don’t know who the gunmen were. But this is an attack on freedom of expression and a great loss to Kashmir’s media fraternity]

New Delhi: Veteran journalist Shujaat Bukhari, editor-in-chief of the Srinagar-based newspaper Rising Kashmir, was shot dead on Thursday by unknown assailants.

Two personal security officers were also critically injured in the attack that took place in Srinagar’s Press Colony. While one succumbed to his injuries, the other is battling for his life at SKIMS hospital. According to local reports, the journalist “received multiple bullets in the head and abdomen”.

None of the terrorist groups active in the Valley have so far claimed responsibility. The last time a journalist was killed in Kashmir was over a decade ago. Srinagar itself saw killings in 2003, when Parvaz Muhammad Sultan, a reporter for a local news agency, was shot dead by gunmen in his office, and August 2000, when a bomb blast killed Pradeep Bhatia, a photographer with the Hindustan Times.

It is possible that Bukhari’s assassination is also linked to efforts by terrorist groups to disrupt the ceasefire Delhi has declared for the month of Ramzan. Last week, Bukhari wrote an article welcoming the ceasefire and expressing the hope that it could break the cycle of violence.

Bukhari, who had been based in Srinagar, had been running the Rising Kashmir for a little over a decade. Coming from an illustrious family of Kashmir – with a journalist as father,  his elder brother Syed Basharat Bukhari serving as law minister in the Mehbooba Mufti government and another a government servant – Shujaat was one of the most respected names in Indian journalism.

Prior to launching his own newspaper, he was bureau chief of The Hindu in Srinagar for nearly 15 years. Widely travelled, Bukhari used to write in Kashmiri and Urdu as well as English. He was also the president of Adbee Markaz Kamraz, the biggest and oldest cultural and literary organisation of the Valley.

A voice of reason and sanity, Bukhari did not flinch from highlighting human rights abuses and consistently advocated dialogue as the way for resolution of Kashmir’s problems.

 

 

Author: Kabir

I am Pakistani-American. I hold a B.A. degree from George Washington University, where I majored in Dramatic Literature and minored in Western Classical Music. During my undergraduate education, I spent two years at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) where I studied Social Sciences, including Anthropology, Sociology and Political Philosophy. I have studied Hindustani Classical Vocal from a young age. Currently I am teaching an undergraduate course on the history of music in South Asia at LUMS. At BP, I intend to write on art, music and literature.

40 thoughts on “Shujaat Bukhari, Editor of ‘Rising Kashmir’, Shot Dead in Srinagar”

  1. Very sad. May Shujaat Bukhari walk the path of the good and righteous through the doors of heaven and ever smile upon us. May his goodness and love ever express through us.

  2. From Scroll. in on the UN’s first ever report on human rights in Held Kashmir (or Indian-Administered Kashmir for those who are trying to be very neutral).

    “But look beyond the terms and the report mostly echoes suggestions made by individuals and institutions within India’s democratic polity: respect obligations to international human rights treaties, repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, institute an impartial probe into civilian killings in Kashmir, investigate all the deaths that have occurred during security operations according guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court of India, investigate all cases of abuses committed by armed groups, provide reparations to those injured during security operations, investigate cases of sexual violence, modify Indian laws to bring them up to par with international human rights standards and so on. These measures should come naturally to India, without the prompting of an external party.

    Only the last suggestion has been an idea that the Indian state has abandoned for decades now and few within the country will articulate: respect the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir. Other than this and the demand for an international probe, the Indian establishment should have no problem in addressing the concerns that are not only doable but need to be handled with more than a measure of urgency.”

    https://scroll.in/article/882708/not-news-most-of-what-the-un-human-rights-report-says-was-flagged-by-the-indian-press-courts-ngos

    1. leopard, I didn’t know that. This might be the worst mistake in Shujaat Bukhari’s life. He must answer before Allah for being so unislamic and islamaphobic. Allah is infinitely wise and just.

    2. leopad, I am not doubting your assertion that he justified Charlie hebdo attacks. Hope you or some one confirm this with a link since it is relevant to this story.

      1. Whether or not he justified the Charlie Hebdo attacks neither changes the situation in Held Kashmir nor what Bukhari’s assassination means for Kashmiri Muslims and especially for journalists. Do try to stick to the topic on my threads. Thanks.

  3. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2018/06/14/will-shujaat-bukharis-assassination-finally-force-india-to-wake-up/?utm_term=.ad2947120872

    hoipolloi, it is confirmed. BTW I am not a huge fan of Barkha Dutt.

    Currently freedom, including freedom of the press is under threat from two sources:
    1) Islamists
    2) Post Modernists

    India should approve an amendment to the constitution guaranteeing freedom of art, press, speech, thought. This is consistent with European Enlightenment and Sanathana Dharma.

      1. I am not that smart to be honest.

        I should add that freedom is consistent with European Enlightenment, Arya culture [Sanathana Dharma (including Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism), Zorastrianism, Taoism, Shintoism], Abrahamic faiths [including my interpretation of the holy Koran], Yezidi-ism, ancient Egyptian religion, ancient Sumerian religion. Suspect this might also be true of Ba’hai, Druze, Manicheanism, Mandaeism, Allawism too; although I don’t know for sure.

        For all I know this might also be true of Inca religion, Maya religion, Olmec religion, Aztec religion too. I haven’t studied them.

    1. India needs to get the hell out of Held Kashmir. Kashmiri Muslims do not want anything to do with your Hindu country. Divide Jammu from the Valley. Keep Jammu (full of Dogras and not Kashmiris) and let the Valley go. That’s the only way the bloodshed will end. The people of the Valley will then decide whether to join Pakistan (Azad Kashmir) or remain independent. There are robust debates happening among Kashmiri Muslims as to whether joining the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is the best course of action or not. What is not up for debate is that Kashmiri Muslims do not want to be part of a country where the Hindu Right is in ascendance.

      1. Dogras “ARE” Kashmiri. So are Ladhakh Buddhists. You are right that Indian people must to right by their beloved Kashmiri brothers and sisters–whom they love more than life itself.

        The nuance of Kashmir is difficult to discuss because of the emotions it generates.

        1. Dogras are NOT Kashmiri. As my mother’s aunt used to say whenever she wanted to insult someone– “Jammu day Dogray”. My ancestors are from the Valley. We are real Kashmiri Muslims. We are not like the people of Jammu who lorded it over us and persecuted us during the reign of the Dogra Maharajas.

  4. Kabir, how much of Tibet do you consider to be Kashmiri? The Princely State of Kashmir and Jammu fought many wars with Tibet. As did the Moghuls before them. I find these wars and Tibetan Kashmiri relations to be fascinating:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibet%E2%80%93Ladakh%E2%80%93Mughal_War

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    How well do you think the Sikhs ruled Kashmir (and Kashmiri Tibet) 1820 to 1846. How about this compromise; Indian Punjab, Kashmir and part of Pakistani Punjab (not most of it) forms a new state. The Sikhs can protect the new state and lead economic development. What do you think?

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Another possiblity. Kashmir and the Northern tip of Pakistan join Afghanistan. Kashmir has long been part of Afghanistan. I think India would love this idea and agree to it. Would you support this?

  5. Anan,
    Kashmir and parts of Pakistan are never going to Afghanistan. Not an inch of the territory of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is going to anyone else ever. Not going to happen. Gilgit Baltistan is our border with China and it is extremely important to CPEC. We’re not letting that go.

    Kashmiri Muslims want to be free. They don’t want to be part of India or Afghanistan. Some of them do want to merge with Pakistan, but others are in favor of an independent Kashmir.

    I say India keeps Jammu and Ladakh and lets the Valley become independent or merge with Azad Kashmir. Problem solved.

  6. Bhukhari , an Indian citizen has been killed by the same forces which have organized attacks on the Indian Parliament, Mumbai attacks in 2008, hundreds of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan and India. They and their employers should be punished

    1. Is it confirmed that Islamist Jihadis killed him?

      Islamist Jihadis have killed over 100,000 Pakistanis, over 70,000 Indians and over 300,000 Afghans since the 1980. Islamist Jihadis have killed over a million muslims all over the world since 1980 and even now regularly threaten and intimidate patriotic good UK muslims. This is completely unacceptable and needs to stop. Nonmuslims need to stop enabling Islamist Jihadi attacks against good muslims.

      1. They are not freelance jihadis ; they are mobilized , orchestrated , directed, funded , steered and enabled by the the Pakistani army in pursuit of what Pakistan considers cheap way to keep India bleeding. That will stop when it is no more cheap and the costs are high.

    2. How do you know who assassinated him when even the Jammu and Kashmir police haven’t figured it out yet? Are you privy to some information that they don’t have?

      No stupid comments on my threads.

      1. What was ‘stupid’ was the inference you drew from the incident. This is a wake up call to the indian govt to find new ways to control the islamist elements in the valley. They should probably take a lead from the way your’iron brother’ friend controls islamists in xinjiang. Kashmir should not become another man made disaster like Pakistan already has.

        1. Hi all,

          Just an admin note to all, if this thread spirals into ad hominem etc I’ll just close the thread and delete the offending comments.

          All views are welcome let’s just keep it above board SVP..

        2. As far as I am aware, we do not yet know who killed Mr. Bukhari. Delhi didn’t particularly like him and neither did some of the hardcore Azaadi people.

          Unless you are privy to information that the rest of us don’t have, don’t speculate.

          Your comments about Pakistan are completely meaningless and have no place in a discussion of the Indian Occupation of the Muslim-majority Valley.

  7. Ramachandra Guha in Scroll. in :

    ” It took less than a year for the window to be shut completely. Flood relief was both tardy and paltry, and then in July 2016 Burhan Wani was killed. The Valley was now rent by many months of strife and violence. In this awful period I followed what Shujaat said and wrote, but thought it improper to casually invade his Inbox. Sometime in the summer of 2017 I was visiting Delhi, and ran into him (naturally) at Bahrisons in Khan Market. He was, as ever, tall and upright; but his brow seemed tinged with sorrow. It was as if the bookshop, for so long a source of enlightenment and inspiration, was now a means of escape and consolation.”

    “Aiding Shujaat Bukhari in this dialogue was Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak, a decorated war hero. In the first week of December 2017 they brought to Bengaluru a group that included two other residents of the Valley, as well as a representative each from Jammu and Ladakh. They all spoke at a public event in the Bangalore International Centre, which sadly (or perhaps shamefully, since this is allegedly a high-tech city) was not recorded for posterity. I remember the discussion as being rich, nuanced, and wideranging. One younger radical spoke feelingly of how India was interested only in the territory of Kashmir, not its people. The lady from Ladakh spoke of the importance of civil society organisations in building trust among different sections. The man from Jammu spoke of how the common ground of trade and livelihood could trump suspicion between the three regions of the State.”

    “Within Kashmir, Shujaat Bukhari was a bridge between young and old, militants and moderates. His newspaper was alert to the divide between the regions of the state, reporting developments in Jammu and Ladakh even while inevitably focusing more attention on the Valley. His own gentle personality and self-effacing manner were invaluable aids in this process of dispelling doubts and misrecognition.

    Journalists in New Delhi knew Shujaat Bukhari far better than I. My own meetings with him were few and episodic. Yet they left a deep impression; of a man of knowledge and empathy, resolution and character, speaking on behalf of a people cruelly treated by history and by the governments of India and of Pakistan.”

    https://scroll.in/article/882791/in-kashmir-shujaat-bukhari-was-a-bridge-between-young-and-old-militants-and-moderates

    1. I understand your skepticism when it comes to his murder, but it wont be the first time that militants have killed one who is widely believed to be sympathetic to there cause. Mirwaiz father, Lone etc were as separatist as they come but were still killed by them. The adulation of his work not withstanding the left liberals in India are barking up the wrong tree, the state will not listen to them since they have been making the opposite point of situation deteriorating which has come through with this murder.

      1. I am aware that “militants” have killed people before. I still think that until a probe is completed, we have no way of knowing who exactly killed Mr. Bukhari.

        In any case, who killed him is less important than what the death of such a balanced Kashmiri voice portends for the future.

        The Valley is a huge problem for India and it will continue to be one even if Pakistan were to accept the status quo and make the LOC the official border (not that we are going to do that).

        1. I disagree on both points. I think its important to find who killed him and for what reason. As with other islamist forces, they will purge the heretic/moderate voices as well. Any one engaging with Indian political establishment at any level is fair game.

          Valley is not a huge problem for India compared to the 90s where India had other secession movement with a weaker economy. There would be some condemnation here and there but India has learnt to live with it. What India’s has learnt is, apparently, the greater national power a country has the lesser human right violation a country is supposedly committing (like China)

          1. The Valley is going to continue to be a problem for India. You have 700,000 soldiers there. Kashmiri opinion has only become more polarized. Young people have little to live for and they feel they may as well die in the struggle for azaadi.

            Pakistan is not so much the problem. If our Army decides tomorrow that the LOC is the permanent border, that’s how it will be. But Kashmiri Muslims will keep on fighting, with or without Pakistan. They really really hate Hindu India.

    1. We don’t know who killed him. Unless you are the J and K police and have solved this already. Both the United Jihad Council and LeT have condemned the killing. Kashmiri Muslims are calling for an impartial probe. That is what should happen.

  8. “This begs the question, who killed Shujaat Bukhari. The government and militant groups have blamed each other. Militants are seeing the hand of the intelligence agencies and the government blames the militants. And in between these allegations and counter-allegations, one more precious life has been lost. What is more, in the absence of the whereabouts of the killers, it is the rumour and innuendo that fills up the space.

    The killing of Bukhari has thus once again gone on to underline that the situation in Kashmir hardly fits into the idea of a simple moral world: a fact that was laid bare by the Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark in The Meadow, their best-selling investigative work on the 1995 Al Faran kidnapping. The book reveals the kidnapping as a perfidious play of the conflict in the state where sometimes the identities of the victims and the perpetrators fuse. They call it a “Game,” “a beautiful game” which in its heyday in the nineties had no boundaries.

    “India and Pakistan fought each other in the Valley by manipulating the lives of others. Everything that happened here involved acts of ventriloquism, with traitors, proxies and informers deployed by both sides, and civilians becoming the casualties,” the authors write. And among those civilians and journalists are the most vulnerable.

    Game is on.”

    https://kashmirobserver.net/2018/ko-analysis/nobody-killed-shujaat-bukhari-33012?utm_source=twitter

    1. It is well known all over the world that the Pakistani govt – read Army – created and supports terrorist organisations which are well known .
      The U.S. State Department lists three Islamist groups active in Kashmir as foreign terrorist organizations: Harakat ul-Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

      There are other jihadi outfits which are less well -known . So, ISI has been playing these cards to export terrorism as it sees fit. So, LeT may “condemn” killing of Bhukhari, but other ISI’s minions would have carried out the assassination.

      There are coldblooded calculations behind these assassinations – one is obviously silence the voice of someone who does not toe ISI- jihadist line in Kashmir ; and make the killing an example for other potential independent line of thinking ; by not making immediate claims Kashmiri’s anger won’t be turned against Pakistan; by making assassinations a regular part of life in Kashmir , the credibility of the Indian state to protect Kashmiris can be called into question . Pakistani army has mastered the algorithm of jihadi terrorism , or so it thinks

      https://www.theglobalist.com/pakistan-united-states-afghanistan-taliban-strategy-war/

      https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/kashmir-militant-extremists

      1. Again, we do not know at this point who assassinated Mr. Bukhari. Kashmiri Muslims have asked for an impartial probe. I believe there is going to be one. Speculating at this point is not useful.

        What is clear is that dark days are ahead in Held Kashmir and the murder of a balanced voice in Civil Society is not a good sign.

  9. Enough is enough! Kashmiris have suffered tremendously under Indian rule. India must grant them freedom – Now! All Kashmiris who want to leave must be allowed to leave Kashmir with immediately effect. India owes it to the Kashmiris that it should pay for their one way fare to wherever they wish to go. In fact it must pick the tab for moving their luggage too.

    1. So you are basically saying you want the land without the people? That’s an incredibly offensive statement and I can’t even begin to respond to that.

      Kashmir belongs to Kashmiris (Muslim, Pandit, whatever) not to “India” as a whole. The sooner you accept that the better.

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