A prominent Kashmiri journalist was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen Thursday in the capital of Indian administered Kashmir, sending shockwaves through the local journalistic community and underlining the insecurity that still plagues the restive region.
Shujaat Bukhari, the editor of Rising Kashmir, one of the region’s leading newspapers, was killed as he was leaving the paper’s office in downtown Srinagar, when the gunmen attacked his car. Two police officers provided to him by local authorities for his security were also killed in the evening attack, according to S.P. Vaid, the region’s police chief.
Bukhari’s killing sparked an outpouring of grief from prominent politicians and journalists alike – in India, Pakistan and in his home of Kashmir, the Muslim majority region divided between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
India’s interior minister Rajnath Singh called Bukhari’s killing “an act of cowardice,” while Rahul Gandhi, the leader of the country’s main opposition Congress party, tweeted that Bukhari was “a brave heart who fought fearlessly for justice and peace.”
The chief minister of the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti, said on twitter that “terrorism has hit a new low with Shujaat’s killing.”
Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the killing “cannot be condemned enough,” and praised Bukhari for “carrying out his professional responsibilities with courage and conviction.”
In a statement posted on Facebook, the Editors’ Guild of India condemned what it called the “dastardly attack” on Bukhari. “Mr Bukhari was a voice of moderation and a courageous, big-hearted editor who mentored a large cadre of young journalists from Kashmir,” the statement said. “The killing of Mr Bukhari is a new low in a rapidly deteriorating environment for media practitioners in Kashmir, in particular, and in the country in general.”
Prominent Pakistani journalist Najam Sethi tweeted that Bukhari was a “voice of truth and reason and decency.”
CNN’s Spencer Feingold and Sophia Saifi contributed to this report.