Meet remembers slain journalist Shujaat Bukhari

Former Vice-President Hamid Ansari said on Wednesday that the present challenge is to uphold the most cherished freedom to express an opinion.

He was speaking at a condolence meet organised by BRIEF here in memory of journalist Shujaat Bukhari, who was killed in Kashmir on June 14, 2018.

“His passing away is mourned by all…. But mourning itself is not enough. We should realise that we face a challenge. The challenge is our most cherished freedom — the freedom to express an opinion,” he said. “If that challenge develops further, then it is not one editor but every citizen who is threatened by it.”

Referring indirectly to the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru months back, Mr. Ansari said freedom was in peril.

Malini Parthasarathy, Co-Chair and Director-Editorial Strategy, The Hindu Group, said it was time to ask why “all the peace dividend that had accumulated because of earlier political initiatives [in Kashmir] has been wasted away”.

“It is important for us assembled here to ensure that Shujaat’s sacrifice does not go in vain. His assassination is a chilling reminder of the vested interests and anti-democratic forces who do not want democracy or peace to flourish in Kashmir,” Dr. Parthasarathy said. “We owe it to Shujaat and the people of Kashmir for whom he fought so long and hard, to isolate the hardliners and fascists, and build public momentum for the revival of a political process and democracy in Kashmir,” she added.

Journalists Muzamil Jaleel and Iftekhar Gilani recalled their long association with Bukhari. Congress leader Manish Tewari and veteran journalist Shekhar Gupta also spoke on the occasion.

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