An anguished Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today broke down while denouncing the "mindless" killing of veteran journalist and Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari by terrorists.
TV visuals showed Mehbooba Mufti crying as she recalled her meeting with the renowned journalist a few days ago.
"What can I say. Only a few days ago he had come to meet me," an emotional Mufti said, struggling to hold back her tears.
Shujaat Bukhari was leaving his office in Press Enclave in the city centre Lal Chowk for Iftar when he and his two PSOs were shot dead by terrorists, police officials said today.
"Shocked & deeply saddened by the sudden demise of Shujaat Bukhari. The scourge of terror has reared its ugly head on the eve of Eid," Ms Mufti tweeted.
"I strongly condemn this act of mindless violence & pray for his soul to rest in peace. My deepest condolences to his family. Terrorism has hit a new low with Shujaat's killing. That too, on the eve of Eid. We must unite against forces seeking to undermine our attempts to restore peace. Justice will be done," she said.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah also expressed shock at the killing of the renowned journalist who was instrumental in organising several conferences for peace in the Kashmir Valley and was also part of the Track II process with Pakistan.
"I'm in complete shock. Hearing the worst...Inna lilahi wa inna illahi rajiuun. Shocked beyond words. May Shujaat find place in Jannat & May his loved ones find strength at this difficult time," Omar wrote on Twitter.
"Even in the last tweet he put out he was defending himself, his colleagues & his profession. He died in the line of duty doing what he did best & loved doing - journalism," he said.
"Along with Shujaat, his security chap was also killed and another lies injured in hospital. Prayers and condolences for them and their families on this terrible night," he said.
The second PSO died shortly after Omar Abdullah's tweet.
CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami said it was a "brutal" attempt by hawks to silence the messenger of peace. He said it was an attack on freedom of press and needs to be condemned in the strongest possible words.
Shujaat Bukhari, who was in his 50s, was given police protection since an attack on him in 2000.