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SRINAGAR: Terror struck a bloody blow in the run-up to Eid-ul- Fitr as unidentified gunmen shot dead a veteran journalist and his two personal security officers in the heart of Srinagar on Thursday evening. Police sources said Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari was leaving his office in Press Colony at Lal Chowk around 7 pm to go home for iftar when motorbike-borne gunmen fired indiscriminately on his vehicle, killing him on the spot.
A policeman and a civilian who were injured are said to be critical. The unidentified militants, believed to be three in number, were apparently lying in wait as they knew when Bukhari would leave. They fled on their bike with a weapon of PSO Abdul Hamid, who was also killed on the spot. Bukhari took more than 16 bullets, doctors who did his autopsy said.
Hours later, the police released two photos of the suspects sourced from CCTV footage and requested the public to help identify them. Bukhari, who is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter, was an advocate of peace and favoured peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue. He was the brother of Syed Basharat Bukhari, a minister in the Mehbooba Mufti government.
Earlier in the day, militants continued their targeting of security forces despite the ceasefire, abducting an army jawan from Kalampora in Pulwama district. His bullet-riddled body later was found in Pulwama. Sources said Aurangzeb, who was posted in Shopian district, was going home in a private vehicle with another person to spend Eid with his family when the militants struck. He is a resident of Poonch and is said to have taken part in anti-militancy operations in Pulwama and Shopian.
No militant group has yet owned responsibility for the killing. Given the volatile situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the PDP-BJP government is unlikely to release prisoners, including separatist leaders, or youth booked on stone-pelting charges as a “goodwill gesture” ahead of Eid, sources said. So far, the Home department, which is headed by the Chief Minister, has not issued release orders for any detainee, they said. Last year too, no prisoners were released ahead of Eid.