Veteran journalist and 'Rising Kashmir' editor Shujaat Bukhari and his two personal security officers (PSOs) were shot dead by terrorists outside the newspaper's office in the heart of Jammu and Kashmir's summer capital today, police officials said.
Fifty-three-year-old Bukhari, who had worked as the state correspondent for national daily 'The Hindu' for several years, was shot dead soon after he boarded his car from his office located at Press Enclave in the heart of the city centre -- Lal Chowk.
"While Shujaat Bukhari was travelling in a car near Press Enclave, he was fired (upon) indiscriminately which resulted in instant death of Bhukari and a PSO who was with him. The other PSO who was shifted to the hospital in critical condition has succumbed to his injury," the statement said.
"Preliminary investigation...indicates this as a terror attack. Police is investigating the case and condemn this gruesome terror act," the statement said.
The unidentified militants, believed to be three in number, were waiting as it is believed that they had the knowledge about the time Bukhari was to leave office. They fired indiscriminately on the vehicle carrying him and fled on a motorcycle along with a weapon of a Personal Security Officer (PSO) Abdul Hamid, who was also killed on the spot.
Bukhari is survived by his wife and one son and a daughter.
"What can I say. Only a few days ago he had come to meet me," an emotional Mufti said, struggling to hold back her tears.
Several organisations of journalists also condemned the killing.
Bukhari is the fourth journalist to be killed by militants in the nearly three-decade-long violence in Kashmir. In 1991, the editor of 'Alsafa', Mohammed Shaban Vakil, was killed by militants of Hizbul Muahideen.
Hours before he was killed, Bukhari distinguishable by his over six-foot tall frame and husky voice was steadfastly defending his work on microblogging site Twitter when he was accused by some Delhi-based journalists of biased coverage.
"...In #Kashmir we have done Journalism with pride and will continue to highlight what happens on ground," he had said in the tweet.
As the news of his cold-blooded killing spread, the social media reacted with surprise and disgust about the cowardly act as politicians, journalists and common people expressed their condolences and condemnation of the barbaric act.
"The scourge of terror has reared its ugly head on the eve of Eid. I strongly condemn this act of mindless violence & pray for his soul to rest in peace. My deepest condolences to his family," the chief minister said on Twitter.
Terrorism, she said, has hit a new low with Bukhari's killing, "that too on the eve of Eid".
"We must unite against forces seeking to undermine our attempts to restore peace. Justice will be done," Mehbooba said.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad termed him a close friend and lauded his role during the floods of 2014. "In him we have lost a fearless journalist and a great social worker," he said.
In a tweet, he said, "Shocked to hear about d attack on d Editor-in-Chief of Rising Kashmir Shujaat Bukhari in Srinagar. Reprehensible n condemnable cowardly act of d terrorists (sic)"
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah said, "Shocked beyond words. May Shujaat find place in Jannat & May his loved ones find strength at this difficult time."
Abdullah also posted a screenshot of his last conversation with Bukhari on Twitter.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)