The killing of veteran journalist and Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari has once again put the spotlight on the freedom of press, or the lack of it, in Jammu and Kashmir.
Bukhari, who vociferously argued for human rights and independence of journalists even hours before his death, had himself written just three months ago that survival is the first challenge for any journalism venture in Kashmir.
The International Federation of Journalists had also highlighted the perils faced by scribes in the state, saying there was a “need of urgent intervention to protect press freedom and journalists”. Since 1990, there have been several attacks and journalists are walking on the razor’s edge, it noted.
Nineteen journalists, including Bukhari, have been killed due to the conflict – either directly targeted or caught in the cross-fire – while several more have been injured.
Here’s a List of Journalists Killed in Kashmir
August 13, 2008 – Javed Ahmed Mir, 35, was shot dead while covering a demonstration near Bagh-e-Mehtab. According to the BBC, apart from being a cameraman, he was also a textile worker to help support his wife and three children.
May 11, 2008 – Ashok Sodhi, a photojournalist and then chief cameraman of Daily Excelsior, was killed in Samba district of Jammu. Sodhi was caught in a crossfire close to India’s border with Pakistan.
April 20, 2004 – Asiya Jeelani was killed in a landmine blast in Kupwara. Jeelani was a freelance journalist who contributed to local newspapers, and a human rights activist who worked with a human rights group, Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS). The blast also killed the driver of the vehicle.
May 9, 2004 – Senior reporter of region’s information department Abdul Majid Bhat was killed in a blast in Doda town, in Jammu.
2003 – Parvaz Muhammad Sultan, editor of a local news agency, was killed by unidentified gunmen. Sultan was the editor of an independent news-wire service, News and Feature Alliance (NAFA), based in Srinagar.
August 10, 2000 – A grenade attack at Residency Road in Srinagar brought a hive of journalists to cover the spot. Moments later a car parked in a lane exploded in which a Hindustan Times photojournalist, Pradeep Bhatia, was killed.
April 8, 1997 – Tariq Ahmad, a private television producer, was killed.
March 16, 1997 – The same year a freelance journalist Saidan Shafi was shot dead along with his bodyguard in Srinagar. Shafi, a reporter for Doordarshan TV, the official Indian television network, for “Kashmir File,” a weekly news program, and “Eyewitness”, a five-minute nightly news capsule, was fatally shot in an ambush by two gunmen in Srinagar.
January 1, 1997 – An anchor for the state-owned Doordarshan television station in Srinagar, Altaf Ahmed Faktoo, was shot dead by militants.
April 10, 1996 – Ghulam Rasool Sheikh, editor of the Urdu-language daily Rehnuma-e-Kashmir and the English-language weekly Saffron Times, was found dead floating in Kashmir’s Jhelum River. Family members alleged that Sheikh was abducted and then killed by a paramilitary group.
September 10, 1995 – Mushtaq Ali, an Agence France-Presse and Asian News International photographer, opened a package at an office in Srinagar’s Press Enclave. The parcel exploded, severing Ali’s left hand, disfiguring his face and severely injuring his right hand and abdomen. He died three days later.
August 29, 1994 – Murder of freelance journalist Ghulam Mohammed Lone, had a chilling effect on stringers working in outlying areas of the Kashmir Valley. He was killed by a group of masked gunmen who also fatally shot his seven-year-old son in their home in Kangan, Kashmir.
October 3, 1993 – Slaying of Radio Kashmir news reader Mohammad Shafi Bhat sparked a wave of resignations by his colleagues.
October 16, 1992 – Syed Ghulam Nabi, Joint Director Information, was kidnapped and held captive for four days. On October 20, his dead body found with torture marks.
September 29, 1992 – A renowned calligrapher, Ali Mohammad Mahajan, working with Urdu newspapers Hamadard and the Daily Aftab, was killed by paramilitary forces along with his son, Aijaz.
April, 23, 1991 – Murder of Al-Safa editor-in-chief Mohammad Shaban Wakil served to mute local journalists’ criticism of Kashmiri militants, whom many suspect killed him. According to reports, some gun-wielding men entered the office of Vakil and fired at him indiscriminately.
March 1 1990 – PN Handoo, Assistant Director of Information, was shot dead inside his office at Balgarden, Srinagar.
February 19, 1990 – Lassa Kaul, director of the government-owned Doordarshan television station, was shot dead by militants in Bemina area of Srinagar. The killing prompted the station’s closure for a three-year period.