Srinagar, Jun 15: It was a black day for Kashmir on Thursday as the Valley witnessed two brutal and cowardly acts by the terrorists. Today, India lost two of its gems – the Editor of Rising Kashmir Shujaat Bukhari, who was shot dead in Srinagar, and an Army jawan Aurangzeb, who was abducted and killed by terrorists in Pulwama. Also Read - Srinagar: 8-Month-old Grandchild of COVID-19 Positive Man Falls Victim to Coronavirus
Shujaat Bukhari, a noted scribe, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Press Colony in Srinagar city on Thursday evening. In the attack, one of his personal security officer (PSO) was also killed, while another is critically injured. Also Read - After Brief Relief, Kashmir Enters Lockdown Again, This Time Over Coronavirus
Reportedly, Bukhari was shot multiple times outside his office in Press Avenue near Lal Chowk area while he was leaving to attend an Iftar party. Also Read - After Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti Likely to be Released Today
Army jawan Aurangzeb, a 22-year-old resident of Poonch district, was abducted was abducted by terrorists near Kalampora in Shopian while he was proceeding toward his home on leave for Eid in a shared cab. His bullet-ridden body was found in Gusoo area, in the outskirts of Pulwama district. He was shot in his head and neck, police said.
The killings drew wide condemnation from politicians and media organisations amongst others across India.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti strongly condemned the attack on Bukhari. “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,” she tweeted.
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, in a tweet, recited the Muslim prayer on hearing about a Muslim’s death, and said: “Shocked beyond words. May Shujaat find place in Jannat & May his loved ones find strength at this difficult time.” In another tweet, he expressed grief over the killing of Army man Aurangzeb. “Another piece of terrible news to add to an already horrible day. May Aurangzeb rest in peace. Allah Jannat naseeb karay,” he posted.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh called the terrorist attack on Shujaat Bukhari an act of cowardice. “The killing of @RisingKashmir editor, Shujaat Bukhari is an act of cowardice. It is an attempt to silence the saner voices of Kashmir. He was a courageous and fearless journalist. Extremely shocked & pained at his death. My thoughts and prayers are with his bereaved family,” he tweeted.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter to express anguish over killing of Bukhari by terrorists. “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,” he tweeted.
Several journalist bodies condemned the killing and demanded swift action against the forces responsible for his killing. Condemning what it called a “dastardly attack”, the Editors Guild of India said that Bukhari was “a voice of moderation and a courageous, big-hearted editor who mentored a large cadre of young journalists from Kashmir”.
“The guild calls upon the government of Jammu and Kashmir to take urgent steps to bring to book the culprits and ensure safety and security for the media in the state,” it said in a statement.
The Srinagar-based journalist had reportedly survived three assassination attempts during his challenging career. He was given police protection since an attack on him in 2000. In the past, he has been Bureau Chief of The Hindu.
Meanwhile, Army jawan Aurangzeb was part of the commando unit which gunned down Hizbul Mujahideen commander Sameer Ahmed Bhat, alias Sameer Tiger, in April this year.