Shujaat Bukhari is dead, we the people, where are we?

Shujaat Bukhari is dead. Shot dead. In Srinagar. When I lived in Sri Lanka, assassinations were common. I remember Kethesh Loganathan, a friend, shot dead at the front gate of his home in Colombo and the shock and disbelief when the news hit you. I remember Lakshman Kadirgamar, the slain Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, his life taken in August 2005, and the platform I shared with him the evening of his death, just a few hours before he was shot.

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I met Shujaat just once, last fall in Washington. We attended a seminar on Kashmir in Georgetown University. I was a stand-in for Ambassador S.K. Lambah who could not attend because of an illness in the family. The seminar was unlike anything you associate on Kashmir. The mood was sober, reasoned, reflective. Shujaat’s presentation was devoid of polemic, it was pained, yes, but never accusatory. We decided we would keep in touch, but I never saw him again.

Death continues to undo so many. The ‘whys’ are never answered, the assassins populate the shadows, their true identities never revealed. Our news anchors continue their nocturnal, foaming-at-the-mouth rants. Nothing like a blood-letting for the TRPs. And we, the people, where are we?

(The author is former Foreign Secretary of India )


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