Shujaat Bukhari: Another Voice Of Reason Silenced

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June 19, 2018

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By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

Shujaat Bukhari, Editor of Rising Kashmir and a man of deep conviction, known through his fearless writings fell to the bullets of assassins today at the time when festive season of Eid is approaching after the culmination of the holy month of Ramadhan. Bukhari’s killing also shows us how difficult it is for the journalists of the Kashmiri origin particularly Muslims, to work in such a difficult circumstances as the militants would not like any Kashmiri to influence public opinion against them.

Shujaat Bukhari was among very few who welcomed open heartedly the announcement made by home minister Rajnath Singh even when a majority of those who matters in the valley did not support it. He wrote in his article two days back that though New Delhi can’t be trusted but we have to utilise these occasions. He called the halting of operations by the armed forces as a sane decision.

That the assassination took place in the holy period of Ramadhan shows the total contempt by those who are fighting the battle of kashmir in the name of Islam. It is very difficult for a Kashmiri journalist to work in such a situation where the entire atmosphere is against the Indian state for its monumental blunders that it has done in Kashmir and without showing any remorse for them. Rather, the government, it look, want to suggest that it can crush any movement on its military might. One does not know who are the advisors suggesting such silly approach to a very complex issue where people’s opinion is essential to come to a conclusion. Unfortunately, people dont matter for the government at the moment which has resulted in deep resentment against the government and all its agencies.

The Indian media has played havoc with Kashmir. Rather than providing a constructive criticism to government’s failed policies, it became RSS’s mouth piece and put every Kashmiri as suspect. The media which should have been putting healing touch to Kashmiris became the hatemongers of the VHP and Bajrang Dal variety. The saner voices lost. Most of the Kashmiri journalists whether editors or other journalists are also working for this ‘national’ media and it is a fact that they have to toe the line of these nationalists editors. We all know how the ruling party wanted to use Kashmir’s political issue to bolster its domestic political purposes. This made these journalist vulnerable to charges like puppets of Indian government and media. Their condition became worst as they were trying to report from the very difficult situation where a balance has to be made between people’s aspirations as well as the stated policy of India’s ‘official’ media which today has become Hindutva media. So, there was little option left for them.

In such a situation, Shujaat Bukhari continued to work unafraid and undeterred. He reported and wrote extensively. He was critical of Kashmiri leadership but also critical of New Delhi who cant be trusted for what it has done to Kashmir. The irony is that those who talked of peace and wanted the cease fire to happen became victim of the terror violence.

Shujaat Bukhari welcomed home minister’s announcement even when rest in the government were not keen or happy. The terrorist have actually silenced a voice who wanted peace to return to Kashmir. It is people like Shujaat Bukhari who were determined to work in such difficult circumstances when on the one side they have to face the wrath of the people and other side get suspected by the intelligence agencies for their reporting.

Shujaat Bukhari’s brutal killings have indicated that there are forces on both the side who dont want peace and negotiations but it is equally important for the government to continue with the peace process and political discussions in the valley. If the peace process is discontinued by this violence then those who oppose peace will win. Shujaat dedicated his life for the cause of peace and democracy but those who killed him have no faith in democratic values and peaceful solution. In the coming days, many other Kashmiri friends might face such threats if they speak up against the violence and talk of peace. Perhaps, the militants in the valley now feel that peace process would halt their ‘dream’ but it is here that the government of India should show maturity and extend the ceasefire and call for an inclusive democratic solutions to Kashmir problem. So far people dont believe the government as they feel it is just passing the time but if the government show sincerity, it will go a long long way.

We condemn the dastardly killing of Shujaat Bukhari and we hope the friends and colleagues who are working in Kashmir despite all the adverse circumstances will inspire from his sacrifices and will work for peace and stability in the region. Shujaat’s death is a huge loss for media fraternity as well as all those who stand for humanity and human rights.

We stand in solidarity with Kashmiri people in their effort to bring peace and justice in their society. Violence has no place in political negotiations. In fact, it endanger the whole peace process and create a artificial situation for all. Kashmir issue need to be addressed in all seriousness and government must be prepared for unconditional talks with all the stakeholders in the state. One hope that the people in Jammau and Kashmir would heed the sincere advise of Shujaat Bukhari. His death is an irreparable loss for all but we hope journalists will get inspired by his dedication despite all the grave threats to his life.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social and human rights activist.

15 June 2018

Source: https://countercurrents.org/2018/06/15/shujaat-bukhari-another-voice-of-reason-silenced/

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