Veteran journalist shot dead in Indian Kashmir

The body of slain Kashmir journalist Shujaat Bukhari slumped in the back seat of his car

Srinagar (India) (AFP) - Unknown gunmen shot a veteran journalist and his police bodyguard dead on Thursday in the main city of violence-plagued Kashmir, police and witnesses said. 

Shujaat Bukhari, editor of an English language daily Rising Kashmir, had just entered his vehicle outside his office in the city's press enclave when assailants fired several shots from close range.

"He (Bukhari) is no more. One of his two police bodyguards also died in the attack," a top police officer told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Another police guard and the driver of the vehicle were critically wounded in the attack.

Fellow journalists were on the scene soon afterwards. Bukhari was slumped over in the the back seat, one of the police bodyguards had a gruesome wound to the head.

Bukhari was a protected journalist, guarded by two armed police round the clock, in an area of India where political violence and threats to reporters is commonplace.

Witnesses said Bukhari died on the spot while the assailants fled immediately after the attack.

No rebel group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

Rebel groups fighting Indian rule of Kashmir as well as government forces have been accused in the past for abducting, attacking and threatening journalists. 

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end British colonial rule in 1947. Both claim the former Himalayan kingdom in its entirety.

The attack comes a day before a unilateral halt in military operations against the rebels for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan comes to an end.

Rebel groups fighting for independence of Kashmir or its merger with Pakistan have rejected the brief religious "ceasefire".

©Agence France Presse

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