Fourteenth June marks the darkest day of Kashmir’s journalistic history, on this day three years ago valley’s most notable journalist, Shujaat Bukhari was shot dead by unknown gunmen as he left his office in Srinagar’s Press Enclave.
The brutal killing of Bukhari who was known for sharp, deep and inclusive understanding of things has left a scar and void in the fraternity that has been working on the razor’s edge ever since his assasination.
Monday marked the third anniversary of his killing, senior journalists and colleagues paid tribute to him.
Jammu based senior journalist, Zafar Choudhary was among the many to write a moving piece on his death anniversary. Chaudhary wrote a detailed piece describing his last journey with the prominent editor.
“By the time I joined journalism, Shujaat Bukhari was already a widely read and respected byline in Jammu and Kashmir and beyond.” Choudhary said.
Talking about his travel with the late great journalist, he wrote, “Traveling together, it is said, reveals you to each other in truer form. For over a decade Shujaat and I took many journeys together and each revealed him to me as a man of great character and strength. Our every travel to just another district in Jammu and Kashmir, another city in India, or to a faraway continent offers a great story to tell. Such stories will come in due time. Here I am recalling the last journey we took together and the last evening we spent together. This memorialisation of the last time we spent together is a tribute to my friend.”
He also wrote about track II meeting in Turkey, and how excited both of them were to visit the mausoleum of Maulana Rumi. Choudhary also threw light on Bukhari’s love for Kashmir.
His office colleague and former deputy editor of Rising Kashmir, Suhail Ahmad also paid tributes to Bukhari.
He wrote about grief following the killing, Ahmad wrote, “The grief is still quite palpable among his family, friends and admirers. Such was the charming personality of the man,”
In his column for the newspaper that Bukhari left behind, Ahmad recalled how charming newsroom was during his days as editor. “I often recall the memorable moments I spent with Shujaat sir at ‘Rising Kashmir’ along with other colleagues. There are just so many anecdotes to keep his smiling face alive in the heart and mind. Even when he was not around, the jovial newsroom atmosphere he had cultivated ensured that the tedious task of bringing out a newspaper was marked by pranks, laughter and cherished camaraderie.” Ahmad said.
He also writes about how the reality of his death cuts short the excitement of the past,” It is followed by a shudder as I recall those tense moments when I rushed to the hospital praying and hoping that he would survive the attack, after all he had survived abduction bids and a near fatal stroke in the past. The happy flashbacks are swiftly wiped out when the scenes outside the mortuary are replayed in my mind.” Ahmad laments.
Meanwhile, politicians also paid tributes to Bukhari, Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Conference (JKPC) in a statement said, “Today is his third death anniversary. Three years have passed when he was silenced. But one still wonders who died that day- Shujaat or his killers? On this day Shujaat gave us all a reason to be proud of objective, fearless, and selfless journalism. Mourning his death will be naive, let us celebrate the courage with which he fought in the forefront. Rest in Peace Shujaat,” said the PC spokesperson.