Death Widely Condoled; Hundreds Join Jinazah
Prominent journalist and Srinagar Bureau Chief of Agence France Presse (AFP), Izhar Wani, 43, passed away Wednesday afternoon at SKIMS here after battling cancer for more than a year. Survived by wife and two little daughters, Izhar was one of the founders of Greater Kashmir.
Thousands of people from all walks of life including journalists bid a tearful adieu to Izhar. He was laid to rest at his ancestral graveyard at Gupkar Road here.
Diagnosed with colon cancer in 2010, Izhar underwent treatment at a hospital in Mumbai last year. After returning home, Wani again developed complications and was bedridden. He was admitted in SKIMS last month after his health condition deteriorated.
Journalist fraternity of the state, particularly Kashmir, has condoled his death, terming it a great loss to the profession of journalism in Jammu and Kashmir. Among his friends and colleagues, Izhar was known for his humility, courage, professional attitude and humorous behavior.
People across the world have paid glowing tributes to Izhar on different micro-blogging and social networking sites.
An alumnus of Media Education Research Center (MERC), Kashmir University, Izhar was a guest faculty to several institutions teaching journalism across the state.
A thorough gentleman and a Good Samaritan, Izhar started his career as a journalist in 1990 with English weekly Submission.
A founder member of Greater Kashmir, Izhar later worked with many local dailies including Mirror of Kashmir and Kashmir Observer where he served as an editor before joining AFP. While performing his professional obligations,Izhar was beaten several times by police and paramilitary personnel in past 20 years. However he would never compromise on professional ethics. Some of his stories on Kashmir conflict have won him international acclamation and he was hailed for his detailed reportage by AFP.
Izhar reported extensively on a wide range of subjects including Kashmir conflict, human rights, politics and human interest issues during his stint at AFP. He reported in detail on Kargil War. In 2004, he was sent on special assignment to United States by AFP.
A POL IVP nominee in 2004, Izhar contributed through his writing to renowned international magazine Time.
Before joining AFP, Izhar worked with many New Delhi based media houses including The Asian Age, India Today, Dutch Radio and Jammu based State Times.
Izhar was a source of inspiration for many youth to join journalism and would constantly encourage them to pursue their career in this field.
He received his initial schooling from Burn Hall School Srinagar and later joined SP College here to complete his graduation.
A condolence meeting was held at Greater Kashmir chaired by the Editor-in-Chief in which all the staffers participated. The meeting remembered the contribution of Izhar towards Kashmir journalism in general and Greater Kashmir in particular. The participants prayed for eternal peace to the departed soul and conveyed deepest sympathies to the bereaved family. Later all the staffers participated in the funeral prayers of Izhar at Gupkar.
“R.I.P. Izhar. I’ll always remember the utmost professionalism of your work,” wrote Washington-based Shaun Tandon, Izhar’s colleague in AFP on Facebook.
“…Thank you for being so encouraging and supportive to an AFP newcomer. We lost you too early my friend,” wrote his another colleague in AFP, Ammu Kannampilly.
“Izhar’s untimely death has robbed India and AFP of a great correspondent,” said AFP Asia-Pacific director Eric Wishart.
“He showed tremendous courage in covering an extremely complex and dangerous conflict for so many years, and showed the same courage in his fight against cancer. He was a devout Muslim and proud father,” he said.
Separatist and mainstream leaders have condoled the death.
In his condolence message, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah expressed deep grief over the demise. In his condolence message, Omar conveyed his sympathy and solidarity to the bereaved family and prayed for peace to the departed soul.
Many pro-freedom leaders including Chairman Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Geelani, Nayeem Khan, Javaid Mir, Shabir Shah, Shakeel Bakshi, Shahid-ul-Islam, Ayaz Akbar participated in the Nimaaz-e-Jinaazah of Izhar.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Chairman Peoples League Mukhtar Ahmad Waza also condoled his death.
In a condolence message, PDP patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, party president Mehbooba Mufti and spokesman of the party Nayeem Akthar expressed their heartfelt condolences with the bereaved family.
Minister for Agriculture, Ghulam Hassan Mir, Minister of State for Home Nasir Aslam Wani, Political Advisor to Chief Minister, Devender Singh Rana, Director General of Police Kuldeep Khoda also condoled the death.
Director Information Khwaja Farooq Renzushah has expressed grief over the demise and extended condolence to the bereaved family.
Kashmir Journalists Guild (KJG), a body of Broadcast Journalists in the Valley, has expressed shock over the demise.
Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association expressed grief on the demise. In a condolence meeting here Bar paid rich tributes to the departed soul.
The congregational Fateha Khwani will be held at Gupkar Road graveyard on Saturday at 10 am, his family said.