BARAMULLA: Family members and friends bid a tearful adieu to Rising Kashmir Editor-in-Chief Shujaat Bukhari, who was shot dead by unidentified assailants yesterday.
Bukhari and his personal security officer were killed outside his Press Colony residence in Srinagar on Thursday, leaving him in a pool of blood.
The noted journalist was about to break his Ramzan fast with Iftar (evening meal), when the incident occurred.
Mohammed Syed, a longtime friend of Bukhari described the latter as a "good human being". He also could not digest the fact that he was no more.
He told ANI, "I have been associated with Mr. Bukhari for long. He joined Kashmir Times as a junior when I was there. In no time, he mastered the craft of writing and acted as a team man. He used to share his views with others. He has gone way ahead in his profession."
The senior journalist went to say that he was dedicated and efficient in his profession.
Recalling the invitation Bukhari had extended, Syed added, "He called me a few days back to attend a programme to mark the 10th anniversary of his newspaper (Rising Kashmir). I attended that ceremony. Little did I realise that it was my last meeting with him."
Syed further said that Bukhari's death was a huge loss to his family, society and the media fraternity.
Mohammad Rafiq, a former director at Doordarshan and another close friend of Bukhari, called the latter "the voice of the Kashmiris."
Expressing shock, Rafiq said, "He was like my little brother. He was a good and a noted writer. It is a loss to the family and the country. He was an active and a diligent man."
The news of Bukhari's death sent shockwaves across the political and media spectrum.
Political leaders such as Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Congress President Rahul Gandhi offered their condolences, calling the killing a "cowardice and a mindless act."
The Editors Guild of India condemned the "dastardly attack" on Bukhari, calling it a "new low."
Meanwhile, Omar is currently in Bukhari's residence in Baramulla to offer his condolences.
In the past, Bukhari survived three assassination attempts and had been under police protection since 2000.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police have released images of the men suspected to have killed Bukhari. In the two pictures released, three men can be seen riding a motorcycle with their faces covered.
The state police have appealed to the public to identify the suspects.