SRINAGAR – Renowned journalist and editor-in-chief of Rising Kashmir, Shujaat Bukhari was shot dead by unknown gunmen in Srinagar’s Press Colony.

The assailants opened fire on Bukhari’s vehicle on Thursday evening. He was reportedly hit by multiple bullets fired from a close range. A security guard protecting him and his driver were also shot.

He and others were immediately rushed to Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital, where the journalist succumbed to his injuries. His security guard died in the hospital, while another is in critical condition.

Rising Kashmir’s Deputy Editor Ishfaq Naseem later confirmed Bukhari’s death.

Visuals from outside the hospital showed Bukhari’s grief-stricken family screaming and crying over the journalist’s murder.

Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti, who visited the hospital, expressed grief over Bukhari’s death.

“Shocked and 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 and pray for his soul to rest in peace. My deepest condolences to his family,” Mehbooba wrote on Twitter.

Reactions over the senior journalist’s death poured in from different quarters, with politicians and journalists sharply condemning the murder.

“Terrorism has hit a new low with Shujaat’s killing. That too, on the eve of Eid. We must unite against forces seeking to undermine our attempts to restore peace. Justice will be done,” J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti wrote.

India’s Interior Minister Rajnath Singh described him as a courageous and fearless journalist.

Calling the noted journalist “brave heart who fought fearlessly for justice”, Congress president Rahul Gandhi expressed his anguish on the journalist’s death.

“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 and Kashmir. My condolences to his family. He will be missed,” Rahul Gandhi wrote on Twitter.

Former J&K CM Omar Abdullah, too, paid his condolences.

“inna lilahi wa inna illahi rajiuun. Shocked beyond words. May Shujaat find place in Jannat & May his loved ones find strength at this difficult time,” Abdullah tweeted.

“Even in the last tweet he put out he was defending himself, his colleagues and his profession. He died in the line of duty doing what he did best and loved doing – journalism. #ShujaatBukhari,” Abdullah further wrote.

Bukhari described the threat to Kashmiri journalists in a 2016 article for BBC News.

“Threats to life, intimidation, assault, arrest and censorship have been part of the life of a typical local journalist,” he wrote.

The Himalayan region of Kashmir has been a flashpoint between India and Pakistan for decades. It is one of the most militarised zones in the world.

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