Srinagar: After senior journalist and Rising Kashmir Editor-in-Chief Shujaat Bukhari was murdered in cold blood just outside his office in Srinagar on Thursday evening, his friends and colleagues are asking just one question: Why?
"The death of Shujaat sir has orphaned our Rising Kashmir office, it is a big loss that cannot be compensated", said Farooq Javed, a photo journalist of Rising Kashmir.
The Rising Kashmir, which hit the stands as usual this morning, also carried the message that it would not be cowed by cowards who had snatched him from them.
"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!" the paper said.
A peacenik, who consistently batted for dialogue between India and Pakistan, Shujaat Bukhari was very active on the Track Two circuit. He often attended conferences abroad, the last one just a couple of weeks ago in Lisbon, where he participated as a speaker during the Global Editors Network summit.
Within India too, he was a part of key seminars and conferences on how to bring peace to the Valley.
To many, his murder signals a warning from terrorists - that all journalists are fair game.
"This is a message to all journalists", said defence analyst Ajai Shukla.
Jammu and Kashmir's top cop, Director General of Police SP Vaid confirmed to NDTV that Shujaat Bukhari had five personal security officers or PSOs. He was provided security 18 years ago.
In 2006, Shujaat Bukhari was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen, who then attempted to shoot him at close range. However, the shooter's pistol got locked and the journalist ran for his life.
In recent weeks, he had strongly batted for the internal ceasefire announced by New Delhi - a ceasefire that terrorist groups have been trying desperately to sabotage.
Just days ago, he tweeted on the killings of two policemen in Pulwama in south Kashmir.
"It is heart wrenching to see these policemen getting killed during Shab e Qadr. May the families have courage to bear the loss. At the end two more Kashmiris lose lives. Violence must stop to create a space for dialogue," he had tweeted.