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‘Shujaat Bukhari's empty room haunts us’, says ‘Rising Kashmir’ scribe

By Vikas Sv

The killing of Rising Kashmir's editor Shujaat Bukhari left the entire nation shocked. There was an outpouring of grief and horror after the gruesome murder of this fine professional who was known for putting forth his views without fear of being criticised. His views on matters related to Kashmir were considered authentic not only in India but across the world. Bukhari indeed was a tall figure in the media profession and the void left by him would be hard to fill in years to come.

File photo of Shujaat Bukhari

We spoke to a journalist working for Rising Kashmir to know how the staff there are coping with this immense loss. Rabiya Bashir of Rising Kashmir tells OneIndia in this candid interview that the staff is "shattered" and are yet to come to terms with the fact that Bukhari is no more. She said that Bukhari was a great personality who inspired budding journalists and constantly encouraged them to stick to ethics of journalism.

"He was a thorough professional and was never biased. He was such a great inspiration for young journalists. He was humble and kind to everyone. He always spoke the truth," she said.

Rabiya says that Bukhari was an institution in himself who was respected everywhere including Pakistan and also by the 'resistance leaders' (Separatists). She said that he was committed the raising the voice of Kashmiri people.

"We are in trauma and still cannot believe that he is not among us. His room is empty now and we cannot bear to see it. It haunts us...Despite having achieved so much, he was very down to earth. He never used to get angry even if there were mistakes in the stories written by us. He would point out the mistakes but would never raise his voice," Rabiya, who knew Bukhari from her college days, said.

Such was his personality that everyone who worked for Rising Kashmir respected him, she said. Rabiya almost became emotional when she said that "Sir had recently praised me for my work."

As a journalist, Bukhari had established a reputation as a fine reporter over several years. He started his own paper, and edited it with such professionalism that the paper rose steadily in circulation and commanded credibility.

When asked about the prevailing situation in the Valley, Rabiya said "Kashmir has become hell", adding, "I don't know where we are heading."

"How can this happen during Ramzan that too a day before Eid. How can anyone do such a thing. It was a brutal killing...We are losing people, we are losing a generation. Who is doing this? Those killers should be punished," Rabiya said.

She said that gun and violence are not going to solve problems. "There should be dialogue. Both the countries should shun arrogance and initiate a dialogue," she added.

"Killing is not good, be it from the army or the militants...We are suffering out here. It's not about India or Pakistan, it is we who are suffering. We are seeing a repeat of the 1990s.

Every time we hear in news about unidentified gunmen. Who are these unidentified gunmen? Why are police or the agencies not able to find a solution. All agencies responsible for the situation here should come together and find out who is behind this," Rabia, a native of Kashmir, said.

She also said that the entire Kashmir issue is a political one, adding, "We are getting dragged into it."

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