PM Modi, Your Silence on Shujaat Bukhari’s Murder is Deafening
What does PM Modi’s silence mean? Columnists and journalists weigh in.
Edited by: Purnendu Pritam
Is the act of refraining from issuing a statement, a statement in itself?
From rapes to lynchings to killing of journalists, what will it take for our prime minister to speak up against the prevailing atmosphere of violence and hate?
Veteran journalist and Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari, a fearless voice for freedom, truth and reason, was silenced with bullets in Srinagar on 14 June.
Politicians, friends and colleagues from across the country and beyond condemned the assassination and demanded a safe space for journalists. On the morning after the gruesome murder, the PM tweeted his wishes for Raja Parba and posted about the beneficiaries of Digital India – but there was not a word on Bukhari, the man who championed peace in conflict-ridden Kashmir.
But what does his silence mean for his countrymen? Columnists and journalists weigh in.
Worried About the Message Conveyed by The PM’s Silence: RK Radhakrishnan
Associate Editor of Frontline Magazine, RK Radhakrishnan told The Quint that he is worried about the message that the PM’s silence sends out. “The prime minister's silence unfortunately will convey something to the people of this country and I am very worried about that,” he says.
“When Barkha Dutt says she is getting threats, when Gauri Lankesh or Shujaat Bukhari get killed and the PM does not utter a word in defence of the journalists then there is a fundamental problem, and that needs to be addressed.”
Be it Akhlaq, Gauri Lankesh or Shujaat Bukhari, it Takes a Lot for Our PM to Speak up: Siddharth Varadarajan
Siddharth Varadarajan, Founding Editor of The Wire told The Quint that the PM’s silence on relevant matters comes across as “highly insensitive”.
‘India Expects More Than a Studied Silence'
In a ‘50-Word Edit’ on The Print, the news platform’s Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta writes that PM Modi’s silence on the assassination is “intriguing and unwise”.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh condemned the attack, calling it an “act of cowardice”.
But is that enough?
Suhasini Haider, Deputy Resident Editor of The Hindu, lauded the Home Minister for his words.
Attempts to Stifle Voices of Reason, Peace Will Endanger Our Democracy: Arati Jerath
Senior columnist and political commentator Arati Jerath told The Quint that attempts to stifle voices of peace, moderation and reason must be condemned by the office of the prime minister.
She said: “Just nine months ago, another outspoken fearless journalist was shot dead outside her home in Bengaluru. She too was felled by bullets of hate. Now we have Shujaat, gunned down outside his office in the heart of Srinagar. Any attempts to stifle the voices of reason, voices of moderation, voices of peace, voices who speak on behalf of ordinary people can only endanger our democracy. And these killings must be condemned by the highest office of the land, the office of the Prime Minister.”
Even Death Doesn’t Break Down Some Categories: Jyoti Malhotra
National & Strategic Affairs Editor at The Print, Jyoti Malhotra writes: “Even death, it seems these days, doesn’t break down some categories.”
Citing examples of politicians across the spectrum who condemned the attack on Bukhari, Malhotra writes: “But the Prime Minister, the morning after, began the day by offering his greetings to the “people of Odisha” on the festival of Raja Parba, also in the Oriya script. There’s not a word on Shujaat Bukhari. Even death, it seems these days, doesn’t break down some categories.”
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