By Hirra Azmat
Srinagar, Jun 21: Media fraternity on Thursday bid a tearful adieu to the journalist Syed Shujaat Bukhari who was murdered in a gruesome attack outside his office here last week.
Many emotional scenes were witnessed in the condolence meeting held in Information Department’s auditorium at Polo View here.
Journalists and supporters from all walks of life participated in the meeting. Speaking on the occasion, Hakeem Irfan of Economic Times initiated the meeting amidst the deafening silence.
He said, “It came as a huge shock for everyone. I am yet to come to terms that Shujaat Sahab is no longer with us.”
Irfan said, “We can’t seek revenge against the culprits but we can raise questions to dig out the truth and the quest for truth should continue till the guilty are brought to book.”
Commenting on slain editor’s persona, Irfan said, “His dynamic and happy-go-lucky personality set him apart from others. Besides, his dedication and hard working temperament was commendable.”
Senior journalist Gowhar Geelani while recollecting his first encounter with the slain editor said, “I first meet him in 2005 and can’t forget his reassuring and warm smile.”
Geelani while condemning the attack said, “I have a firm conviction he was killed because he raised questions. The questions could have countered through pen and not through force.”
He said, “What is worth appreciating is the courage shown by his staff members. They sent a strong message to the assailants by coming up with a ready newspaper the next day of his killing.”
Geelani said, “Shujaat Sahab carved a niche for himself in the literary circle by promoting Kashmiri language in letter and spirit. Not only that, he also chose to be a social worker while extending a helping hand wholeheartedly during the devastating floods of 2014.”
He said, “He carried on crusade fearlessly by highlighting the sufferings of Kashmiri people. With the result, some fringe elements had started a vicious campaign to malign his image. He would be labeled as pro Jihadi, separatist, and pro Pakistan person.”
Peerzada Ashiq working with The Hindu said, “Even if I choose the choicest of the words, it is difficult for me to describe Shujaat Sahab in words.”
“He was a man of small gestures that made him big. His welcoming smile, straight-forward nature and his relentless attitude to fight for his motherland made him all the more special,” he said while fighting back tears.
Aashiq said, “The campaign that he had started made him vulnerable. Shujaat Sahab once showed me his social media profile and how he was vilified through his posts.”
Faisal Yaseen, political editor with Rising Kashmir said, “He was an editor, associate, and friend all rolled into one. Never would he curb our creativity by stopping us from doing stories of our choice.”
Yaseen said, “Even if people hurled abuses at him but he would never hold any grudge against them,” he said.
“The media fraternity to should come together to bring the culprits to book,” Yaseen said.
“The way he would everyone’s battle can’t be overlooked. His campaigning for various causes lead to his death and we demand the culprits should be punished,” he said.
Nazir Masoodi of the NDTV said that Shujaat was speaking for Kashmiris and his death “immortalized” him. “He was advocating the pain of Kashmir. Was he killed because he was holding the conference to find a solution to Kashmir problem?” he asked.
Mufti Islah of the CNN IBN commended Rising Kashmir team, who kept up with publishing the newspaper even during such tragedy.
“You people showed great courage and displayed the highest standards of journalistic ethics. The biggest tribute to Shujaat saab would be to carry forward his legacy,” he said.
Masood Hussain of Kashmir Life said that Shujaat had an “unmatched” personality.
“Difference of opinion is essence for betterment of society but don’t encourage animosity,” he said.
Senior journalist Majid Hyderi, said, “He was friend of all seasons and person with a integrity and character. His case has to take to be taken to logical conclusion.”
Rashid Maqbool, who has worked with Shujaat said that he always stood by his reporters. “He was full of humanity and never forced his ideology on others,” he added.
Several other journalists also spoke on the occasion and paid tributes to him.
The condolence meeting was organised Kashmir Working Journalists Association.
Disputes, lack of funds keep grid stations projects in limbo
Srinagar, May 18: Lack of funds and land disputes over towers have been delaying the completion of several grid stations in Kashmir.
There are several grid stations over which works have been started years ago. However, they are facing inordinate delay due to non-completion of construction of transmission towers, and laying of transmission lines.
One such project is Alastang grid station in Ganderbal district, on which work was started nine years ago.
“Although the work on Alastang grid station has been completed, the authorities have failed to resolve the land dispute for setting up towers over the years and connect Alastang with Zainakote grid. Presently this grid station is non-operational,” an official said.
He added that there is an immense load on Pampore and Zainakote power grids from where electricity is being supplied to Srinagar, Ganderbal, and Pulwama districts.
“Ganderbal gets electricity from Zainakote grid station and mostly remains overloaded,” the official said.
“Had the Alastang grid station been completed, it would have reduced the load on two existing power grids and helped the state to upgrade the power supply in the valley,” he added.
Similarly, an official document reveals that construction of grid station at Ahmedpora in Magam too has been put on hold.
“The work will be started as soon as the funds are released,” the document reads.
Completion of other grid stations at Lassipora Pulwama is also facing delay due to lack of funds or government’s failure in resolving the land disputes over towers.
The official said that existing transformers and power lines are also in bad shape. “There are technical snags in electricity due to poor power infrastructure,” the official added.
In a recent meeting, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan directed for effective monitoring of ongoing works on grid stations and strict adherence to the design, drawing and specifications, and use of quality material for creation of durable assets. He has directed the concerned authorities to submit a proposal for arrangements of funds.
“Chief Engineer System and Operations PDD has been directed to pursue the matter with the concerned authorities for release of funds,” a source privy to the meeting said.
Offices of 12 militant organisations operating from PaK sealed, funding stopped
Srinagar, May 18: The offices of the 12 Kashmiri militant organizations operating from the Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PaK) have been sealed, reported the newspaper Independent Urdu.
The newspaper reported that offices of all 12 organizations affiliated with the United Jihad Council were sealed, while as, the amount of office expenditure in these organizations has also been completely stopped.
Independent Urdu reported that the action has come in the backdrop of mounting pressure by the Financial Action Task Force or FATF.
This is the first time in last 32 years of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir that Pakistan has sealed the offices and also stopped financial assistance.
Recently, Pakistan took 44 members of proscribed organizations, including Mufti Abdul Raoof and Hamad Azhar — the former believed to be the brother of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) leader Masood Azhar and the latter his son — in preventive detention for investigation.
Ronaldo donates $1.5 million to fasting Gazans: Report
Srinagar, May 18: Cristiano Ronaldo has donated $1.5 million to feed people in the besieged Gaza Strip, Palestine, against the backdrop of the holy month of Ramadan, Sputnik News reported.
The Portuguese football star has never hid the fact that he is pro-Palestine, expressing his support for Palestinians several times in the past.
In 2012 the 28-year-old star gave away his Golden Boot Award to the Real Madrid foundation, which subsequently auctioned it off to raise money for building schools in Palestine.
In 2013, he refused to swipe t-shirts with an Israeli player in a display of support for Palestinian rights.
Although he did shake hands, he excused himself by explaining that he could not wear a shirt with that country’s flag, press reported.
The incident occurred at the end of the match between Portugal and Israel for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
A 5-year-old boy Ahmad Daubasha — sole survivor of a Palestinian family attacked by Israeli settlers, was received by Ronaldo in 2016 at the Real Madrid training center, where he photographed himself with the boy, giving him a specially-dedicated t-shirt. The Gaza Strip has been under Israeli land, air and sea blockade since June 2007, greatly impacting living standards, levels of unemployment and increasing poverty.
Palestinians have held weekly rallies along the Gaza border to protest the siege on the enclave and demand the right for refugees to return to their homes they fled during the 1948 creation of Israel.
Pro-Palestinian celebrities range from longtime activists to musicians to younger stars, calling for boycotts of artistic and scientific gatherings, divestment from Israeli businesses, etc.
The Portuguese star is known as one of the most involved in humanitarian work around the world.
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