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Newspaper Editor Shot in Kashmir

May 29, 2002

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SRINAGAR, India (AP) _ Unidentified gunmen ransacked the office of a Kashmiri newspaper and shot an editor in the head on Wednesday. He was in serious condition, hospital officials said.

At least three men walked into the office of Zafar Iqbal, a copy editor at Kashmir Images newspaper, and started arguing about a story that appeared in the morning edition of the daily newspaper, staffers said.

``Three men came into the office and asked for Zafar Iqbal. They gave him a letter to sign and while he was signing the letter, they shot him and ran away,″ said office clerk Narayan Singh.

The story in question, a front-page article, was about Indian soldiers who had helped a family in distress.

The newspaper has the reputation of siding with the Indian government, instead of the many Kashmiri Muslims who want independence for India’s only Muslim majority state.

Journalists have come under attack several times by Islamic guerrillas in Kashmir. Their movements and activities are also are monitored closely by Indian security agencies.

The divided Kashmir province is claimed in its entirety by both India and Pakistan, which have gone to war twice over the Himalayan territory. A 12-year insurgency by Islamic militants fighting for Kashmiri independence or a merger with Pakistan Kashmir has claimed some 60,000 lives.

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