The editor of the well-known daily Rising Kashmir and one the region’s most renowned journalists, Shujaat Bukhari was shot several times by unidentified gunmen as he was about to get into his car outside his office. The two police bodyguards escorting him were also hit by the shots and one died of his injuries.
Bukhari had been receiving police protection since 2000, when he was the target of an earlier attack.
“Shujaat Bukhari’s brutal murder is a major blow for the Kashmiri media community and comes just as the United Nations is calling for an investigation into human rights abuses in Kashmir,” RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk said. “We urge the local and national authorities to shed all possible light on this horrific crime, which has silenced one of Kashmir’s leading independent and moderate voices.”
The precise motives for Bukhari’s murder are not yet known but it came during a ceasefire for Ramadan that he had encouraged in his articles. In a tweet, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti blamed his murder on separatist “terrorism.” No armed group has so far claimed responsibility for the shooting.
India is ranked 138th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2018 World Press Freedom Index, two places lower than last year.