*LONDON - *Senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari , who was shot dead in Srinagar last week, had approached Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti only a few days ago for increased security, the former head of India's external spy agency RAW , A S Dulat said today.
Mr Bukhari, the editor-in-chief of the daily 'Rising Kashmir', was shot dead outside his office in Srinagar on June 14. Two police officers provided to him as personal bodyguards were also killed in the attack. The government has blamed terrorists based in Kashmir for the killings.
"He (Mr Bukhari) had warned repeatedly of alienation, increased militancy and all pervasive fear in which no one was safe," Mr Dulat, who arrived here last week, said in a statement.
Mr Bukhari had "approached the Chief Minister only a few days ago for increased security. Yet who could have imagined that this gentle soul would become a target. Why?" Mr Dulat asked.
"We had met at Istanbul about 6 weeks ago from where he travelled to Pakistan. Despite travelling for more than a fortnight he came from Srinagar to Delhi for the launch of my book 'The Spy Chronicles' on May 23. As usual he spoke fearlessly about his beloved Valley which he saw sinking in the last couple of years," the former intelligence chief said.
Mr Bukhari was the most committed votary of dialogue as the only way out, he said. "He was a gem of a human being and a friend; possibly the brightest journalist in the Valley with a great future," he added.