The profession of journalism in the conflict zone is very challenging, difficult and risky. There is a very thin line which determines balance of the loyalty, bias and narrative of a journalist in support or against the conflicting sides of the conflict. This is the fundamental reason that a lot of journalists lost their lives in the conflict regions or zones, all around the world, among which unfortunately Shujaat Bukhari of Kashmir has been one.

In Jammu and Kashmir we have numberless journalists and reporters in the print media, among which only a few have carved a good place in the right sense of the term like Fayaz Kaloo Basharat Peer, Ahmad Ali Fayaz, Annuradha Basin, Muzamil Jameel, Peer Ashiq , Gowhar Gelaani, Reyaz Masood, Yosouf Jameel, Zaffar Chaudray, and a few more. Shujaat Bhukari too was a shining star in this galaxy of journalists.

In fact Shujaat was more than a journalist. He was the voice of oppressed, the hope of suppressed, the pen of exploited and the opinion of concerned. Besides being the member of the elite class of journalists , he was the active member of the literary circles, the advocate of peace, the ambassador of Kashmiri nationalism, the true social activist, an inspiration to youth , the champion of human rights and the diplomat of Kashmiri cause.

There are only a few journalists in Kashmir which are known to the people at the gross root level. But Shujaat was the one known to all the people irrespective of age, gender, religion and other domains in the current situation of region. Shujaat was truly the journalist of a common man. He was known to the people as a penalist of their own, the opinion maker, the educationist, the right activist, the literary figure etc etc.

The death of Shujaat has created a big vacuum in the intellectual circles of Jammu and Kashmir. The death has not been the death of an individual but the death of an institution and the death of an ism which may be truly called the “Shujaatism”.

In the common sense of the term, Shujaat was killed by an unidentified gunman for unknown reasons but in the broader perspective, there are some other areas too which are being viewed in the inner circles as the possible reasons of killing like the journalist of separatism, the champion of resurgent Kashmiri nationalism and the active member of track two diplomacy . All the above three areas possess a good number of visible enemies in Kashmir since 1931.

Whatever was the motive behind the brutal killing, we lost Shujaat , the Shujaat of every Kashmiri.

Rising Kashmir or Buland Kashmir appointed new chief editors, Kamraz elected new President, the Indian TV Channels found new panalists but the spirit of Shujaat is missed badly. The journalists continued their best to crack new stories in their respective beats but the beat of Shujaat and the colour of Shujaat is deeply missed in the journalism of Kashmir.

Masood Ali Mir is a freelancer and a social activist can be mailed at masoodalimir@yahoo.co.in.


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