Hours before he fell to the bullets of unidentified gunmen, Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari had vigorously defended his work on Twitter when some Delhi-based journalists accused him of doing "biased" reportage on Kashmir, and had posted the UN report on alleged human rights violations in the valley.
One of his last tweets read: "First-ever @UNHumanRights report on #Kashmir calls for #international inquiry into multiple violations".
Mr Bukhari, who had a distinguishable tall frame and husky voice, said in another tweet, "In #Kashmir we have done Journalism with pride and will continue to highlight what happens on ground."
As the news of his cold-blooded killing spread, social media reacted with surprise and disgust about the cowardly act as politicians, journalists and common people expressed their condolences and condemnation at the barbaric act.
It is unfortunate that a credible think tank like @orfonline should allow this diatribe in absence of the person referred to. In #Kashmir we have done Journalism with pride and will continue to highlight what happens on ground. @samirsaranhttps://t.co/bGjajFT9yb- Shujaat Bukhari (@bukharishujaat) June 14, 2018
"The killing of @RisingKashmir editor, Shujaat Bukhari is an act of cowardice. It is an attempt to silence the saner voices of Kashmir. He was a courageous and fearless journalist. Extremely shocked & pained at his death. My thoughts and prayers are with his bereaved family," Home Minister Rajnath Singh said.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi, too, expressed his "anguish" about the killing of the editor who was one of the most important voices of Kashmir.
"He was a brave heart who fought fearlessly for justice and peace in Jammu & Kashmir. My condolences to his family. He will be missed," he said on Twitter.
The killing took place in heavily guarded Press Enclave near the Lal Chowk area in Srinagar when Mr Bukhari, in his 50s, was going from his office there to attend a Iftaar function.
"We're deeply dismayed to hear about the killing of Shujaat Bukhari, editor of @RisingKashmir. He was a brave and outspoken voice for justice and equality in Jammu and Kashmir," Amnesty India said in its message.
Director General Press Information Bureau Sitanshu Kar said, "Extremely saddened by the way the voice of #shujaatbukhari, one of the finest journalists of J&K, has been silenced. His voice of moderation will be missed by all."
RJD leader and former deputy chief minister of Bihar Tejashwi Yadav wrote "shocked & saddened by the unfortunate news of @bukharishujaat 's death. Indeed darkest days for fearless & independent journalists in the country. Govts must ensure speedy investigation & punish the perpetrators. Where we are heading as a country?"
Former army commander in the area Lt Gen (retd) Syed Ata Hasnain said, "Very pained to hear of the shooting of Shujat Bukhari, Editor of Rising Kashmir. Long time associate, over 20 years. Played a very important role in Kashmir. Regret to learn that he is no more. May his soul rest in peace. What will the trts/Separatists aim to achieve with this."
While one of the personal security officers (PSO) guarding him was killed, another policeman and a civilian were injured, they added.
The condition of the two injured in the shooting, which comes a day ahead of Eid, is critical, they said.
It was not immediately clear how many gunmen attacked Mr Bukhari, who earlier worked with The Hindu newspaper as its Kashmir correspondent.
Mr Bukhari was instrumental in organising several conferences for peace in the Kashmir Valley. He was also part of the Track II process with Pakistan.
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