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The murder of Shujaat Bukhari is aimed at silencing the middle ground in J&K

The death of Shujaat Bukhari in a terrorist attack at close range in Srinagar has taken away a journalist who held bold and independent opinions (राय) on the conflict in Kashmir and how it should be resolved. In the choice of target and the timing of the murder, the attack sends out a chilling message (शीतल संदेश ): that on the eve (पूर्व संध्या) of Id-ul-Fitr and in the closing days of the government’s Ramzan ceasefire (संघर्ष विराम) against militants, there are forces determined to gut the emerging consensus(उभरती आम सहमति ) for extending the cease-ops and preparing the ground for dialogue. Bukhari, given the credibility (विश्वसनीयता) he had painstakingly (बड़ी मेहनत से) built with reportage that conveyed the complex reality of life in the Valley(घाटी), was a prominent(प्रसिद्ध)  advocate of the ceasefire and the need to extend it. Whichever terrorist group chose to kill him would have been aware of the consequences (परिणाम) of his death. This has been a dark week (काला सप्ताह) in Jammu and Kashmir. Two security personnel with Bukhari were killed in the attack in Srinagar’s Press Colony. On Thursday too, the body of Aurangzeb, a jawan with the 44 Rashtriya Rifles who had been kidnapped while on his way home for the Id holiday, was found in Pulwama district riddled (छलनी) with bullets. In Bandipora, two militants and an Army jawan were killed. Days earlier, terrorists killed two policemen in Pulwama. It is easy to spot the insistence (बल) to pull Kashmir back into the cycle of violence that was sought to be broken by the ceasefire. It is a challenge that the governments at the Centre and the State, as well as the security forces, would have been prepared for, and they must not allow these provocations (उकसाना) to dim (मंद हो जाना) the case for a more humane outreach. J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti must not be rendered (देना / अनुवाद करना) a lonely voice for truce (युद्धविराम संधि)and dialogue.

Bukhari’s killing highlights the dangers that reporters and editors face in the country — his death draws a direct line to the attacks on countless (अनगिनत) journalists, including the murders last year of Gauri Lankesh in Karnataka and Santanu Bhowmik in Tripura. Bukhari himself has been abducted (अपहरण) before, in 2006. He survived that ordeal(कठिन), but had to work thereafter with security cover, something no reporter would envy (ईर्ष्या / विद्वेष ). That his guards died with him on Thursday underlines the vulnerability (आलोचनीयता) of both those who are guarded and those who guard. It also underscores the irreplaceable(स्थिर) role of the journalist in Kashmir, where daily lives are negotiated amid (के बीच) conflicting (परस्पर-विरोधी) narratives, ideologies (विचारधाराओं) and affinities(समानताएं). To reconcile (समाधान करना)these, the reporter needs to have in his tool kit an open heart, the persistence (हठ / दृढ़ता) to tease out stories and connect all dots, no matter how they may disturb nationalist (राष्ट्रवादी) or separatist (संप्रदायवादी) sentiments. Without information, reconciliation (सुलह) is impossible. Over the decades, Bukhari enlightened (प्रकाश डालना) readers even as he mentored (को परामर्श ) journalists as the editor and founder of Rising Kashmir,and earlier as The Hindu’s correspondent.

Important vocabulary

  • Ceasefire (संघर्ष विराम)
  • Emerging consensus(उभरती आम सहमति )
  • Painstakingly (बड़ी मेहनत से)
  • Prominent(प्रसिद्ध)
  • Consequences (परिणाम)
  • Riddled (छलनी)
  • Insistence (बल)
  • Provocations (उकसाना)
  • Truce (युद्धविराम संधि)
  • Abducted (अपहरण)
  • Ordeal(कठिन)
  • vulnerability (आलोचनीयता)
  • Irreplaceable(स्थिर)
  • Affinities(समानताएं)
  • Reconcile (समाधान करना)
  • Persistence (हठ / दृढ़ता)
  • Reconciliation (सुलह)


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