In an appeal to the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, N.N Vohra and the JK police, the media fraternity of Jammu and Kashmir put forward a series of demands revolving around the recent assassination of Rising Kashmir’s editor, Syed Shujaat Bukhari on June 14. The demands listed convey the importance of professionalism and efficiency while executing the said duty.
The fraternity, in a six point statement has said that “The SIT must thoroughly dig deep into the circumstances, including a pan-world vilification campaign on social media, that created an enabling atmosphere and led to Mr Bukhari’s audacious killing along with his two security guards on June 14, 2018 at Srinagar Press Enclave.”
It has also stated that the killing must be investigated by a team of professional and well-experienced Police officers comprising the organisation’s best investigators, forensic and IT experts headed by one senior most officer.
While talking about evidences, the Media fraternity has stressed on the immediate arrest and interrogation of all suspects before any kind of technical evidence is destroyed. If there is a possibility of foreign planning, warrants against them should be got issued by a judicial magistrate and served through respective embassies/ high commissions and Interpol. In addition, a senior most criminal lawyer should be appointed by the government with the position of Special Prosecutor who will avoid letting the investigation droop towards routine technical and legal lapses and loopholes. Additionally, the progress being achieved throughout the investigation should be shared with the entire media fraternity.
Lastly, the fraternity has emphasized on investigating “Mr Bukhari’s complaint against certain vitriolic news portals running a no-holds-barred character assassination campaign against him” and the reason as to “why officials neither attempted to block such portals nor provided adequate protection, including a bullet proof vehicle, to Mr Bukhari until he was shot dead in total helplessness.”
Bukhari was assassinated on June 14 by unidentified gunmen outside his office in Srinagar, a day before Eid and few minutes before Iftaar (breaking of Fast during Ramzan). Bukhari succumbed to his injuries and was declared brought dead at the hospital.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein during his opening statement of the 38th session of the Human Rights Council on Monday said that he was deeply saddened by the assassination of veteran journalist Shujaat Bukhari.
While calling him a human rights defender, Hussein said, “I am tremendously saddened by the assassination last week of Shujaat Bukhari, a courageous human rights defender actively working for peace, including through his participation in the Track Two diplomacy seeking to help both India and Pakistan put an end to the violence.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists while strongly condemned the killing of the editor said that Indian authorities must bring killers of Bukhari to justice.
Recently, two major world bodies of editors and publishers have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveying their “grave concern” over Shujaat Bukhari’s assassination and sought investigations in the case.
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum are major media associations. WAN-IFRA represents 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in over 120 countries, with an aim to safeguard the rights of journalists.
“We ask that you take all necessary steps to ensure that local and national authorities carry out a quick and thorough investigation and bring the perpetrators – and masterminds – to justice,” the letter reads.