Srinagar:Journalists protest against Bukhari’s killing

Srinagar:Journalists protest against Bukhari’s killing

Journalists stage a protest against the killing of veteran journalist Shujaat Bukhari and recent remarks by BJP leader Lal Singh that were denounced as a threat towards media workers in Kashmir, in Srinagar on Tuesday. (AFP)

Journalists in Srinagar on Tuesday staged a protest against the assassination of veteran journalist Shujaat Bukhari and the threat to local scribes by a BJP MLA.

Several journalists representing local, national and international organisations assembled at Press Enclave, where Bukhari was killed and marched towards Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower) near the Srinagar city centre. Most Kashmir-based newspapers have their offices in the Press Enclave.

Holding placards and banners reading slogans in favour of their slain colleague and against BJP MLA Lal Singh, they demanded authorities to come up with the facts about the killing of Bukhari. Some journalists had taped their mouths with paper to protest against the attempt to silence the Press.

Singh had last week alleged that Kashmiri journalists have created “an erroneous atmosphere” and warned them to draw a line or face the same fate as Bukhari. The sit-in and protest march were organised by Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG), a forum of local newspapers.

Bukhari, the editor-in-chief of local English daily ‘Rising Kashmir’, was gunned down by three motorcycle-borne assailants in his car along with two security guards outside his office on June 14 evening.

Sameer Showkin, a reporter at ‘Rising Kashmir’, while calling Bukhari’s killing an attack on journalism and the freedom of speech, said, “We will not let the lamp of the freedom of speech go out.”

“Everybody at our office is yet to come out of the shock of losing Bukhari, who was not only our editor but a friend, colleague and a mentor. When we sit in the newsroom, the pain of his separation become unbearable,” he told DH.

“His death no doubt has created a vacuum which is impossible to fill but his writing will keep him alive for generations to come,” Showkin added.

While the police are yet to come to any conclusion as to who was behind Bukhari’s killing, the NHRC on Monday sent a notice to the chief secretary and the state police chief saying the incident was causing “serious threat” to free speech and freedom of the press in the state.

The commission said it would also like to know as to what "special measures have been taken by the state government to stop such incidents" and added that the response was expected within four weeks.