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.