Newspapers across India on Friday morning expressed shock at the murder of veteran journalist Shujaat Bukhari in Srinagar on Thursday evening. Bukhari’s newspaper Rising Kashmir carried a full-page portrait of its founding editor, while another local daily, Greater Kashmir, carried its news reports about the incident on a black front page.
“You left all too sudden but you will always be our leading light with your professional conviction and exemplary courage,” Rising Kashmir said in a brief tribute below Bukhari’s front-page photograph against a dark background. “We won’t be cowed down by the cowards who snatched you from us.”
“Shujaat silenced” said the paper’s headline on page 3, with the strap “Fearless journalist pays price for upholding the truth.” The newspaper also carried the pictures of the two security officers who were accompanying Bukhari. Both succumbed to their injuries later.
The newspaper, which had only eight pages on Friday instead of its usual 12, said it would uphold Bukhari’s principle of “telling the truth however unpleasant it may be”. On its last page, the newspaper carried several pictures in the aftermath of the incident, with the words: “Rising Kashmir Family Orphaned”.
On its fourth page, the daily called it a “cold-blooded murder” and carried clippings of 11 selected pieces Bukhari had written in its editorial pages in his weekly column “On the Record”. Most of the columns advocated a journey to peace for the troubled state through dialogue. The newspaper did not have its regular editorial page on Friday.
The bottom of the page, where the newspaper lists its team members, named Bukhari as its “founding editor” on Friday. Previous editions had referred to him as the editor-in-chief.
Bukhari’s death late on Thursday moved the United Nations’ report about alleged human rights abuses in Jammu and Kashmir to second place for newspapers in the state.
Greater Kashmir, another well-known daily from the state, ran an obituary titled “A Versatile Voice” on its first page. Kashmir Observer had his death as the top story against a black background. The report had the headline: “Noted journalist Shujaat Bukhari shot dead”. Kashmir Times said that the media fraternity was shocked at Bukhari’s death.
Other newspapers carried the news as their top stories as well. The Indian Express’ obituary was on the inside pages, titled “In many worlds at the same time, yet rooted to the ground”, while the Hindustan Times carried a tribute calling Bukhari a “fiercely independent, courageous voice”.