Prominent journalist Siddharth Varadarajan on Friday said questions about motives behind the assassination of Shujaat Bukhari last year must be raised by the society including the media fraternity.
Varadarajan was speaking at the launch of a book “Kashmir’s thin red lines” to mark Bukhari’s first death anniversary.
He said government had not made enough efforts to trace killers of Bukhari, who along with two of his security guards was shot dead outside his office at Srinagar’s Press Enclave.
“How difficult is it to trace IP addresses from which slander and vilification campaigns was launched on him? It has been a year since Shujaat’s killing but central role of police to identify killers and the motive of assassination is not fulfilled,” Varadarajan said.
“Society at large must not stop to raise voice just because police say two of his assassins were killed.”
The veteran journalist and editor claimed Bukhari’s assassination fitted a pattern of attacks in Kashmir, particularly of journalists.
“The aim of this killing was to silence a sane voice and intimidate others for not taking up a public role,” Varadarajan added.
Drawing parallels between the killing of Bengaluru-based editor Gauri Lankesh and Bukhari, Varadarajan highlighted loopholes in the investigations in the case of Bukhari’s killing.
He said Lankesh’s killers have been identified after a thorough probe in three different states across the country.
“Today we are very confident who killers of Gauri Lankesh were. A watertight case was formed on basis of credible set of clues and a chargesheet filed. We know broad facts about Shujaat’s killing one year later but authorities are unable to clearly tell us about assassins and their motive,” Varadrajan said.
Varadarajan also highlighted mounting cases of online hate speech against Kashmiri people and inability of national media to criticise the present government.
“Today in public sphere people are saying things that were unimaginable a few years back. Callous social media comments on Kashmir are growing with each passing day,” he said.
Saeed Naqvi, another widely known veteran journalist also spoke on the occasion, saying reporting Kashmir was laiden with difficulties.
Naqvi said the recent victory of BJP “was not possible without a captive national electronic media”.
“For journalists, it is very difficult to navigate truth and report from Kashmir. Today I have arrived here at an unusual time,” Naqvi said.
Earlier the book “Kashmir’s thin red lines” was launched by Varadarajan and Naqvi in presence of late Bukhari’s wife Dr Tehmeena Bukhari and his father Prof Rafi-u-din Bukhari.
Dr Tehmeena who has complied the book which carries articles and interviews by Shujaat Bukhari broke down during the course of the event.
In his emotional address, late Bukhari’s teenaged son, Syed Tamheed Bukhari recounted the cordial relation he shared with his father.
“My father was a busy man but whatever little time I spent with him there was a lot of learning in it,” Tamheed said.
Columnist Aijaz-ul-Haq read out a review of the compilation, paying rich tributes to the slain journalist and praised his journalistic abilities and writing skills.
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