Remembering Shujaat Bukhari
“You left all too sudden but you will always be our leading light with your professional conviction and exemplary courage. We won’t be cowed down by the cowards who snatched you from us. We will uphold your principle of telling the truth howsoever unpleasant it may be… Rest in peace!”
As armed conflict in the Kashmir valley continues from 90’s, thousands of precious lives have been lost. Be it a Professor, a Scholar, a doctor, an engineer or a local labourer, this draconian conflict snatched lives from every discipline. What is more unfortunate now is that we have become so much accustomed to these daily killings that it looks like a daily normal thing for us. We continue to lose our youth on daily basis followed then by huge yearning funerals but still we don’t see it as too much to fear about as we have normalised these things.
Due to the ongoing conflict, mentality of people have now become such that, we romanticize now our suffering and people begin to discuss it among themselves like a new normal; “Oh! Did you hear about today’s encounter, 3 militants and 3 civilians were killed.” These things have now become a daily norm for people to discuss about.
It was the 6thJune last year of 2018; I was back from Aligarh Muslim University for summer vacations only to see then again a bloody summer. Barricades, stone pelting, daily encounters had already settled the mind. The air had already filled with extreme grim that something terrible was going to happen.
It was 14th of June 2018 now only few days left for Eid-Ul-Fitr, I broke my fast and offered Magrib prayers. However, before that I preferred checking an update first; minds always remain preoccupied with the situations happening around and you want to remain updated about it. As soon as I opened my Facebook, what followed in the news feed was that “Dr. Shujaat Bukhari is no more, killed by unknown gunmen” the heart began to beat faster and was not willing to accept this harsh reality. I quickly switched on TV and all the news channels were showing the same brutal story and later on had to accept this tragic news. Still, my heart was not willing to accept how anyone can be so cruel that he will kill a person, like Shujaat Bukhari who always endorsed truth and fearless journalism. He was the person who wanted that Kashmir conflict should be resolved as soon as possible so that this daily dance of death here on either side (be it Indian forces, militants or civilians) stops!
My home coming for Eid now was already turned into mourning and sadness filled in pleasant air of Kashmir that whenever anybody sent me greetings for Eid, “I responded by “there is no Eid in Kashmir.” What was more heart-rending was the way the very next day despite this tragic affliction ‘Rising Kashmir’ continued it’s daily publication with its founding Editor on the front with some mournful, but powerful lines that still runs through my mind, “You left all too sudden but you will always be our leading light with your professional conviction and exemplary courage. We won’t be cowed down by the cowards who snatched you from us. We will uphold your principle of telling the truth howsoever unpleasant it may be… Rest in peace!” Rising Kashmir family was now orphaned but not their unbiased and professional journalism of telling the truth. Though later on state police suspected LeT militants behind it, but how in such a high security zone like press colony they could have managed to kill a person and then escape safely. Nevertheless, it was a great personality now gone which will take a lot of time for anybody to fill his void and it hardly matters now who snatched this great personality from us. Conflict has toll on everyone irrespective of his profession. It is this conflict which forced promised scholar like Dr. Mannan Wani, professor like Dr. Mohammad Rafi and many others to pick up arms. So, better is to kill this conflict once for all so that no more blood is drained, no more precious and visionary personalities like Shujaat Bukhari are further lost.
That is what I strongly believe it is high time that India and Pakistan leave their egos aside and instead take some constructive steps to resolve bloodiest conflict. India should realize now this muscular approach towards Kashmir hasn’t worked and will not work in future as well. You kill 100’s of militants every year but 100’s more join and the death dance on both the sides continues. It is time to understand now the basic problem in the ground and try to solve it accordingly so that no more blood is spilled, no more son/daughter gets orphaned, no sister losses her brother and no parent losses his child. Let peace prevail!
Author studies at Aligarh Muslim University and hails from Shopian, Kashmir. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: Views expressed are exclusively personal and do not necessarily reflect the position or editorial policy of Oracle Opinions.