Journalist shot in Kashmir

New York, May 29, 2002—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the shooting of Zafar Iqbal, a journalist for the Srinagar, Kashmir­based English-language daily Kashmir Images.

Iqbal, who was shot by three unidentified assailants this afternoon, was seriously injured and is currently in the hospital in stable condition, according to journalists in Kashmir and Indian news reports.

At about 3:00 p.m., three gunmen entered the Srinagar offices of Kashmir Images and asked for Iqbal. After speaking with the journalist for several minutes, one of them took out a gun and shot him in the leg and neck. The assailants fled the scene and have not been caught by police.

Iqbal is an editor and reporter at Kashmir Images, a 6-month-old publication that is known for supporting the Indian government. Local journalists believe Iqbal may have been targeted because of a front-page story he wrote in the May 29 issue about the Indian army’s efforts to help an impoverished family. His colleagues told reporters that the assailants discussed the story with Iqbal before shooting him.

Journalists are regularly targeted for violent attack in Indian-administered Kashmir, where Muslim separatists and Indian security forces are fighting for control over the region. The shooting comes amid sharply escalating tensions between India and Pakistan over the disputed territory.