“Since Shujaat Bukhari’s murder we have been dying a little everyday, slowly and bitterly. Did his killers celebrate? Did they get what they took away from us?”

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Shujaat Bukhari, the longtime Kashmir correspondent of The Hindu and Frontline, who launched Rising Kashmir, was assassinated in Srinagar, in June 2018.

In the Sunday magazine section of The Hindu, his wife Tehmeena Bukhari, a doctor, writes of her and the family’s trauma.

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“Since his murder — unsolved to this day — we have been dying a little everyday, slowly and bitterly.

“Did his murderers celebrate his assassination? Did it provide them with something, the something that they took away from us? Are they at peace knowing that they have killed a man of peace?

“Shujaat believed that a newspaper should create a place for nuance and for dialogue. Many people spoke harshly against him. He engaged everyone in dialogue and defended the right to hold different opinions till his death.

“Shujaat was an advocate of the vernacular press. It was because of him that the Kashmir Media House added in Sangarmal (in Kashmiri) and Buland Kashmir (in Urdu) to their list of publications.

“Last year, we visited the offices of The Hindu and Frontline in Chennai. It was a chance for me to see him with journalists of publications outside Kashmir for which he wrote. He was in his element. It was clear that he was happiest when around reporters.”

Shujaat Bukhari’s killing is one of five featured from India to feature in Time magazine’s year-end issue: The Guardians and the War on Truth.

The others are:

Dainik Bhaskar reporter Navin Nischal who was mowed down by an SUV driven by a local politician he had critiqued; News World reporter Sandeep Sharma, hit by a truck after covering corruption; cameraman Achyutananda Sahu, caught in police-militant crossfire during election coverage; and AJ reporter Chandan Tiwari, abducted and beaten to death after reporting on corruption.

Quoting a 2017 Freedom House survey, Time says “only 13 per cent of people live where the press operates with little influence, few legal constraints and no fear of repercussions”.

India is listed as being “partly free”.

Read the full article: What did the killers of Shujaat Bukhari achieve?

Photograph: courtesy Indian Express

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Also read: Amnesty bats for jailed Manipuri journalist Kishorchandra Wangkhem

Why India’s position is not rising on the World Press Freedom Index

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