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SRINAGAR: Senior journalist and editor of Srinagar-based English daily newspaper, Rising Kashmir, Syed Shujaat Bukhari along with his two security guards was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Press Colony at city centre Lal Chowk in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday.
Bukhari left his office at around 7 pm to have Iftaar with his family at home.
As he boarded his vehicle, the gunmen, who were apparently waiting for him, sprayed bullets on his vehicle from point-blank range.
Shujaat and one of his security guard Hamid died on the spot while another of his security guard sustained critical bullet injuries.
The injured security guard identified as Mumtaz was rushed to the hospital, where he succumbed to injuries in the evening.
Police sources said three militants on a motorbike fired on his vehicle and escaped from the spot after the incident.
No militant group has claimed responsibility of the killing of Shujaat Bukhari.
The doctors, who performed Shujaat's post-mortem, said he had sustained more than 16 bullet injuries.
"He has been fired indiscriminately from very short range," they said.
Shujaat was the editor-in-chief of Rising Kashmir, Buland Kashmir (Urdu daily) and Sangarmal (Kashmiri daily).
Shujaat started his career in journalism with Jammu-based English newspaper Kashmir Times. Later he joined the national newspaper, The Hindu and quit the paper after launching his own English newspaper Rising Kashmir in March 2008.
Shujaat was an advocate of peace and favoured peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue.
He is the brother of PDP MLA and Minister Syed Basharat Bukhari.
Shujaat is survived by elderly parents, wife, daughter and son.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and other mainstream and separatist leaders have strongly condemned the killing of Shujaat.
"The scourge of terror has reared its ugly head on the eve of Eid. I strongly condemn this act of mindless violence & pray for his soul to rest in peace. My deepest condolences to his family," Mehbooba tweeted.
The Editors Guild of Kashmir, an editors' body of Kashmir, has also strongly condemned Shujaat's killing.
Visuals of CM Mehboob Mufti meeting the family of Shujaat Bukhari, Editor of Rising Kashmir newspaper, who was shot dead by terrorists in Press Colony in in Srinagar city. #JammuAndKashmir pic.twitter.com/jOizsk3J8s— ANI (@ANI) June 14, 2018
Bukhari was instrumental in organising several conferences for peace in the Kashmir Valley.
He was also part of the Track II process with Pakistan.
Condolences for the veteran journalist are pouring in on Twitter:
Shocked & deeply saddened by the sudden demise of Shujaat Bukhari. The scourge of terror has reared its ugly head on the eve of Eid. I strongly condemn this act of mindless violence & pray for his soul to rest in peace. My deepest condolences to his family.— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) June 14, 2018
My friend @bukharishujaat was a rare voice of moderation in Kashmir who pandered to no extremes. May those who did this to him rot in hell. And may this be a moment for Kashmir to take note of the absolute insanity it is slipping into #ShujaatBukhari— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) June 14, 2018
I’m anguished to hear about the killing of Shujaat Bukhari, editor of @RisingKashmir. He was a brave heart who fought fearlessly for justice and peace in Jammu & Kashmir. My condolences to his family. He will be missed.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) June 14, 2018
Even in the last tweet he put out he was defending himself, his colleagues & his profession. He died in the line of duty doing what he did best & loved doing - journalism. #ShujaatBukhari https://t.co/xEA2hg2xp1— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) June 14, 2018
The former J-K CM shared his last direct message with the journalist:
Shujaat Bukhari and I were colleagues at The Hindu. He was a formidable reporter, and, as editor of Rising Kashmir, a powerful voice for the embattled media fraternity, a true voice of sanity and reason. No words of condemnation are enough for the scum who have assassinated him.— Siddharth (@svaradarajan) June 14, 2018
What an unspeakable shocking tragedy. #ShujaatBukhari's voice was resolute, strong, yet never shrill, always urging the common ground, constantly optimistic, a kind, thoughtful and wise person, a great friend, a fine journalist. Devastated to hear this news, what a sad sad day https://t.co/RxrCUwMZK1— Sagarika Ghose (@sagarikaghose) June 14, 2018
Had a conversation with him just 20 minutes before the incident. It's really shocking.This is the situation of journalists in Kashmir.Jinke haath khoon se range huye hain, unko introspect karna hoga: Iftikhar Gilani, Senior Journalist on the killing of journalist Shujaat Bukhari pic.twitter.com/Dy4rW6s6hN— ANI (@ANI) June 14, 2018
(translation: the ones whose hands are stained with blood, they have to introspect.)
(With online desk inputs)