Srinagar, July 1: A three-member team of Press Council of India (PCI) on Sunday visited ancestral house of slain noted journalist and Rising Kashmir editor-in-chief, Syed Shujaat Bukhari to offer their condolences and expressed their solidarity with the bereaving family.
During the visit, the PCI team members, included Pravat Kumar Dash, Ashok Upadyay and Professor Sushma Yadav, interacted and offered condolences to the bereaving family, especially to late Shujaat’s elderly father, Syed Rafiudin Bukhari, his brother and legislator Basharat Bukhari, and to his wife and his two children.
The PCI team termed Shujaat as a thorough journalist who never compromised on his work ethics and gave his life to uphold the same.
The team conveyed that Shujaat’s killing was condemned across the country, including by print and electronic media.
Attributing his killing as a cowardly act, the PCI members said the assassins did manage to kill Shujaat, but will never be able to kill his ideology.
The visiting members urged that people need to understand that a journalist is only a messenger and killing him is only unethical, but also in humane.
They assured the bereaving family of all possible support.
Shujaat and two of his Special Police Officers (SPOs) were killed on June 14 when he was leaving his office at Partap Park in Srinagar shortly before breaking fast in the holy month of Ramzan.
Police claimed that Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT) militant planned the killing of Shujaat in Pakistan and later executed in Srinagar. Police has identified four militants, including a Pak national and a Kashmiri presently in Pakistan.
However, the militant outfit denied to have killed Shujaat.
The PCI chairman Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad set up a committee comprising United News of India (UNI) Editor Ashok Upadhyay arrived here on Sunday to visit Jammu and Kashmir from July 1 to 5 to assess the media scenario in the state.
Other members of the committee include special correspondent of Pratidin, Parvat Kumar Dash and Vice Chancellor of the BPS Mahila Vishwavidyalaya, Sonepat Prof Sushma Yadav.
The team will be visiting the state and make thorough study into the present state of press in Jammu and Kashmir by holding discussions with media persons and public at large and other concerned authorities to collect such information as is deemed necessary.
Following increasing outcry over the killing of Shujaat Bukhari and concern expressed by various media bodies, Justice Prasad, on June 27 set up a three-member Sub-Committee. Following the killing of Shujaat the editor-in-chief of ‘Rising Kashmir’, various media bodies urged the Jammu and Kashmir government to bring the killers of the senior journalist to book at the earliest, and institute an inquiry into the malicious campaign launched against the scribe before his murder.
In a joint statement-cum-resolution, Press Club of India, Indian Women’s Press Corps, Press Association, Editors’ Guild, South Asian Free Media Association, South Asian Women in Media, Indian Journalists’ Union, National Union of Journalists, Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Working News Camerapersons Association and All India Urdu Editors Conference said the “senseless murder” of Shujaat demanded accountability at various levels.
They said everyone in the country has a sovereign right to freedom of speech and expression and “increasing intolerance” to such freedoms has the potential of “undermining the character and nature of democracy”.
“We demand that the government of Jammu and Kashmir bring the perpetrators of this dastardly crime to book at the earliest. We demand that the government institute a separate inquiry into those who had launched a malicious campaign against Shujaat,” they said.
Not holding simultaneous elections will impact voter turnout in LS polls: Experts
Srinagar, Mar 19: Not holding Assembly and Parliamentary polls together is likely to impact the overall voter turnout in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in the valley, claim valley based experts in politics.
This year many new parties have come to the fore and the Centre is likely to enhance its deployment of forces in Kashmir to ensure “violence free elections.”
However with spontaneous disturbance across the valley coupled with delaying of the Assembly elections by the Centre, the experts claim a major proportion of the people are likely to keep away from casting their votes.
“Parliamentary election in Kashmir usually invite low voter turnout. Had it been both Lok Sabha and General Assembly elections held together in the state the voter turnout could be expected higher. As of now, we don’t see chances of any major turn out in voting ahead especially in Kashmir,” said Prof Gul Muhammad Wani who teaches Political Science at Kashmir University.
Wani expressed doubt over the participation of newly formed parties in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
“I am not sure if these smaller parties will field their candidates. Even if their leaders file nomination, people won’t vote for them in huge proportion compared to the two main political parties of Kashmir (NC and PDP),” Wani said.
“Many parties will use this election to mobilise people for the upcoming assembly elections,” he said.
In 2014 LS polls, 49.7 per cent voter turnout was recorded in Jammu and Kashmir. Barring Jammu, people mostly in Kashmir prefer to choose boycott over ballot as only 11.46% voter turnout was recorded in summer capital.
In 2017 by-polls, the turnout in Srinagar dipped further to only seven percent as violence and killing gripped the valley on poll day.
Prof Noor Ahmad Baba, another expert in politics, claims the parliamentary elections in Kashmir won’t be a “bigger affair” as he believes that there are less “reaction” votes from the valley.
“In other states people vote to express their dissent, which is not in case of Kashmir. Some people will vote here positively. The turnout is expected to be higher in Assembly polls ahead,” he said.
Prof Baba said the emergence of new parties too won’t woo many people to cast their vote for them.
“These new parties won’t have much impact immediately. Sajad Lone has no appeal outside Baramulla and Shah Faesal too can’t make a bigger difference. However, if NC and Congress form an alliance then some may come out to vote,” he said.
Slow repair work halts cross-LoC trade in Uri
Traders fear losses in crores
Srinagar, Mar 19: The Cross-LoC trade in Uri has hugely suffered due to snail-paced repair work on the Kamaan Post Bridge, traders rued on Tuesday.
As per them, around 116 trucks are stuck at Uri road in north Kashmir while 24 others are stranded at Traders Federation Center Salamabad. The stranded trucks are carrying delicate items including fruits and vegetables which cannot be preserved for long course of time.
Aggrieved over the losses, the Cross-LoC Traders Association claimed that the delicate goods in stranded trucks have been damaged due to the delay.
Speaking to The Kashmir Monitor, Hilal Turki, chairman, Cross-LoC Traders’ Association, said the items in the trucks have almost “perished” as around two weeks have passed since the repairing work started.
“The losses might be in crores as there are 140 trucks stranded. We have written to the Director General of Police to seek the intervention for speedy repairing of the bridge,” he said.
In a letter to government authorities, the association stated: “Our traders mostly deal with fresh items and the value of those items is in millions of rupees, here we would like to bring in your kind notice that most of the products come from all over the country and as such our loaded fresh trucks remain in transit for a week or more due to this uncomfortable situation our traders are desperately waiting for speedy repairing of Kamaan Pull so that heavy losses can be saved.”
Earlier on March 9, police communicated to the concern authorities that due to the sustained use of Kaman Aman Setu for cross-LoC trade for a long period, the bridge has suffered some damages which requires immediate repair to prevent further deportation.
“Inspection of the bridge was carried out on March 8, 2019, which indicated that the bridge needs urgent repairs and maintenance to ensure its longevity. The repair would require minimum 10-15 days,” he said.
However, around two weeks after, the repair work is still on at a very slow pace.
Riyaz Malik, SDM, Uri told The Kashmir Monitor that the resurfacing work in Kamaan Post bridge is going on. “Trade is suspended since then as work is going on and it will take 10-15 more days to allow traffic on the bridge. We have advised the traders to get the items down some where in Srinagar,” Riyaz said.
Cross-LoC trade and the bus service between India and Pakistan were suspended last month too, in backdrop of the Pulwama suicide attack in which 49 CRPF personnel were killed.
Centre misusing NIA to target Kashmiris: Soz
Srinagar, Mar 19: Alleging that Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre was misusing National Investigation Agency (NIA) to target Kashmiris, senior Congress leader Prof Saifuddin Soz on Tuesday said this will be useless and counter-productive.
The former union minister supported chairman of Hurriyat (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who has asked NIA to question him in Srinagar as he cannot travel Delhi for security reasons.
In a statement here this afternoon, Prof Soz said, “I give credence to Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s stand that he should be questioned anywhere in Srinagar and not asked to travel to NIA headquarters in Delhi”.
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