By Rameez Raja
It is not for the first time that a journalist was killed by some unidentified gunmen in Kashmir. When we scroll down the dusty pages of history of Kashmir, we come to know how easy it is to kill Kashmiris within their own valley. No matter which profession they belong to, Kashmiris are subject to torture, rape, abuse, and murder. The killing of Kashmiri journalist, Shujaat Bukhari, in broad daylight on 14 June 2018, because of his vociferous voice against the atrocities in Kashmir, adds to a long list of gruesome and cowardly killings. Bukhari brilliantly spoke for the restoration of peace in the valley and urged both India and Pakistan to settle the unresolved Kashmir dispute through a meaningful dialogue.
The only thing which I understand about this cowardly act is that his enemies failed to respond reasonably and peacefully. Thus, the violent response. Also, the killers and their supporters displayed that they were afraid of the journalist’s passionate voice against the atrocities and killings of innocents in Kashmir. Bukhari chose his pen to raise the voice of Kashmiris but it unfortunately culminated in his cold-blooded murder. Before this terrible incident, he used his social networking sites to circulate and defend the first United Nations Report on Human Rights violations in Kashmir.
Bukhari’s only fault was his attempt for a peaceful settlement of the unresolved Kashmir dispute. Additionally, he never hesitated to speak against the wrong policies and double-standards of the government in the valley. While he might not have won the hearts of the haters of peace, he is now a role model for the new faces of the Kashmiri people, who believe that pen is mightier than the gun.
It is likely that many Shujaats will be born and will contribute to the peace process in the valley. Dear Shujaat, you showed us the right direction to fight for our rights. The haters of peace can torture us, abuse us, beat us, and kill us, but they can never stop our mission towards the peace process in the valley. It is short-sightedness on the part of the haters to think that they can spread terror in the valley by killing peace-loving people. After Gandhi’s murder, his teachings spread more across the world. Similarly, Shujaat’s contribution to Kashmir will be proudly remembered always. Hate can never betray peace and evil practices can never deceive sincere work. Of course, we lost a precious soul. But he fought bravely for the peace process in the valley.
You contributed to the Hindu, Frontline, Rising Kashmir, and the Friday Times. Your pieces were always factual and authentic. As the Editor-in-Chief of the Rising Kashmir, you endorsed young students and gave them a valuable opportunity to contribute to the newspaper. Despite this, you were accused of being anti-national and many a time the newspaper was banned. You bravely fought for justice and won hearts of many people around the world. I read your last piece, “How Real is Fake News”, published in The Friday Times on 15 June 2018, in which you wrote about threats to journalism due to social media sites. As always, your writing inspired me.
Dear Shujaat, your death was a sudden shock for me and I pray for your lofty station in the heaven. May Allah reward you for your contribution towards the peace process in the valley! I stand in this belief that your contribution to Kashmir will achieve its desired end and peace will be restored in the valley soon.
Like many others, I strongly condemn the killing of Syed Shujaat Bukhari and his two personal security officers and urge the state government to find the killers as soon as possible.
Rameez Raja is pursing Ph.D. at the Department of Political Science, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.
Cafe Dissensus Everyday is the blog of Cafe Dissensus magazine, based in New York City, USA. All materials on the site are protected under Creative Commons License.
Read the latest issue of Cafe Dissensus Magazine on ‘Travel: Cities, Places, People’, edited by Nishi Pulugurtha, academic, Kolkata, India.