THE National Alliance of Journalists(NAJ) and its Delhi affiliate – Delhi Union of Journalists(DUJ) along with various other bodies all over the country have come out with solidarity statements at the assassination of Shujaat Bukhari. Massive protests have taken place in the Kashmir valley and a joint solidarity meeting has been held at the Press Club of India in Delhi, on June 18, called by the PCI, IWPC, Press Association and various other organisations. A black day protest in Delhi by the Delhi Union of Journalists was held on June 23, 2018. Protests in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana by the National Alliance of Journalists (NAJ) and its state affiliates are also reported.
The NAJ and DUJ in a joint statement on June 14 expressed deep shock, anger and anguish at the assassination of Shujaat Bukhari, outstanding journalist and editor of The Rising Kashmir. Bukhari was killed in Srinagar on June 14 at point blank range when he stepped out of his office. An evil message has been sent out by this murder on the eve of Eid. Bukhari’s security personnel were also shot, one lies dead while another is critically injured. These killings spotlight the deep insecurity of life in Kashmir today and the urgent need for a political resolution to the conflict.
The DUJ called for an immediate investigation into the murder of Bukhari and the forces and motives behind it, so that other journalists are not exposed to similar attacks. DUJ salutes the courage of fellow journalists in Kashmir who continue to pursue the profession in the face of utmost danger. Their voices must not be silenced.
NAJ joint secretary O Santhi, addressing a protest in Vijayawada on June 16, demanded an immediate probe into the murder of Shujaat Bukhari. A true voice of sanity and reason has been lost she said, and added his death is a huge loss to the democratic ethos. Press freedom is distinctly diminishing and to have an opinion today – especially one that does not fit into the dominant political narrative – is to be in the line of danger, she said during the protest meeting followed by a rally.The All India Newspaper Employees Federation has also condemned the killing of Shujaat Bukhari.
EXPRESSING shock and anguish over the dastardly killing of veteran journalist and Rising Kashmir editor-in-chief Syed Shujaat Bukhari, CPI(M) leader and MLA Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami described it a huge loss not only to the journalist fraternity but an assault on the strong voices of sanity and reason as well.
In his condolence message on June 15, he said Bukhari was a committed professional, a powerful voice and his death is a huge loss to the democratic ethos. This is a grave attack on freedom of press and an assault on voices of sanity and reason and no words of condemnation are enough for such brutal killing. He was targeted for being a rare voice of moderation and reason. Killing journalists will not further the cause of any side but will perpetuate the crisis further.
He expressed his heartfelt sympathies with the bereaved families of the victims.
CPI(M) Polit Bureau has issued the following statement on June 15
On Cowardly Killing of Shujaat Bukhari
THE Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) strongly condemns the cowardly killing of Shujaat Bukhari, senior journalist and editor in-chief of Rising Kashmir. This was a targeted and planned murder. He had survived previous attempts on his life and had been provided security. Tragically his two security guards were also fired upon and later succumbed to their injuries.
While the killers are yet to be identified, it is clear that those who committed this dastardly act on the eve of Eid, when the entire valley is getting ready to celebrate the festival, have no respect for religion, humanity or restoration of peace. They must be identified and strong action taken against them.
Shujaat was a fearless and independent journalist who refused to bow down to pressures from any quarter. His was a voice of reason and he was highly respected for his writings. His killing also highlights the difficult circumstances in which independent journalists work in J & K.
The CPI(M) expresses its deep condolences to Shujaat Bukhari’s family and to his colleagues.
The CPI(M) also expresses deep condolences to the families of the security guards who were killed while fulfilling their duties.