Dealing a severe blow to the suspension of security operations in the Valley during the holy month of Ramzan, terrorists on Thursday shot dead Kashmir's senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari and his two personal security officers in the heart of Srinagar. He was reportedly hit by multiple bullets fired from a close range.
The gunmen fled from the spot while Bukhari and his PSO were removed to SMHS hospital where both of them declared brought dead, they said. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti confirmed the death of the veteran scribe on Twitter and said that she was saddened and "shocked" by the "scourge of terror".
Hours before he fell to the bullets of unidentified gunmen, Bukhari vigorously defended his work on Twitter when some Delhi-based journalists accused him of doing "biased" reportage on Kashmir, and had posted the United Nations report on alleged human rights violations in the Valley. The condition of the two injured is also critical.
Waseem Ahmad, a local journalist, told Reuters that he heard gunfire ringing out and, reaching the location, found Bukhari and his two guards lying in a pool of blood in their auto. Bukhari later told Reporters Without Borders that the instigators and perpetrators of this kind of attack are rarely caught in Kashmir.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the killing was an "act of cowardice" and described the Rising Kashmir editor as a courageous and fearless journalist. "Such an attempt to suppress the sane voices by terrorists will never succeed", he said in a tweet. "The state government and the central government are committed for the freedom of press in the country and the state". His family members and well wishers condoled the shocking demise. He was also part of the Track II process with Pakistan.