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Shujaat Bukhari laid to rest in his ancestral Kreeri village

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Despite rains thousands attend slain journalist’s last rites

Kreeri, Jun 15: ‘Rising Kashmir’ editor Shujaat Bukhari was today laid to rest in his ancestral village with thousands people braving rain to participate in his last rites.

As preparations were underway for the funeral procession of the journalist, who was shot dead outside his office in Srinagar yesterday with two of his PSOs, readers of the ‘Rising Kashmir’ woke up to a paper with its front page carrying a full-page black and white photograph of its editor-in-chief against a black background.

The ‘Rising Kashmir’, which hit the stands as usual, also carried the message that it would not be cowed by cowards who had snatched him from them.

“You left all too sudden but you will always be our leading light with your professional conviction and exemplary courage. We won’t be cowed down by the cowards who snatched you from us. We will uphold your principle of telling the truth howsoever unpleasant it may be…Rest in peace!” the paper said.

The message found wide echo as crowds of tearful mourners from across the Valley followed the cortege through the streets of this sleepy hamlet in Baramulla district, a short distance from Srinagar.

Amongst those who took part in the last rites of the journalist and visited his ancestral home to condole with the family were opposition leader Omar Abdullah and ministers Mohammad Altaf Bukhari and Naeem Akhtar, besides Taj Mohiudin, Mohmmad Yousf Tarigami, Nasir Wani and Saifuddin Soz.  JKLF chief Muhammad Yasin Malik and many other separatist leaders and activists also participated in his funeral.

It was probably the biggest funeral procession the village had seen, observers said.

There was a traffic jam in the area as the crowds of mourners swelled.

Bukhari, 50, was gunned down yesterday evening soon after he got into his car from his office at Press Enclave in the city centre, Lal Chowk, on his way to an Iftar party.

Bukhari, whose killing came just two days ahead of Eid, was instrumental in organising several conferences for peace in the Kashmir Valley. He was also part of the Track II process with Pakistan.

He is survived by his wife and two children, a son and a daughter.

According to Omar Abdullah, the ‘Rising Kashmir’ had published a fitting tribute to its editor.

“The show must go on. As Shujaat would have wanted it to. This is today’s @RisingKashmir issue. That Shujaat’s colleagues were able to bring out the paper in the face of insurmountable grief is a testament to their professionalism & the most fitting tribute to their late boss,” the former chief minister wrote on Twitter while sharing a picture of the front page of the paper.

Bukhari is the fourth journalist to be killed in the nearly three-decade violence in Kashmir.

In 1991, the editor of ‘Alsafa’, Mohammed Shaban Vakil, was killed by militants of the Hizbul Mujahideen.

Four years later, in 1995, former BBC correspondent Yussuf Jameel escaped with injuries when a bomb exploded in his office.  ANI cameramen Mushtaq Ali lost his life in the incident.

In 2003, Parvaz Mohammed Sultan, editor of NAFA, was shot dead by Hizbul Mujahideen at his Press Enclave office.

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