Journalist killed in mine explosion

New York, April 22, 2004—A journalist was killed in a mine explosion in India-controlled Kashmir on Tuesday, April 20.

Asiya Jeelani died en route to the hospital after the van she was traveling in, which was being used by an elections monitoring team sent by a local umbrella organization, the Coalition of Civil Society, detonated an explosive device on a rural road in northern Kashmir.

Jeelani was a freelance journalist who frequently contributed to local newspapers. According to local sources, she was helping the Coalition prepare a report on its monitoring activities and may have been reporting on the elections as well. She was also a human rights activist who worked with several local nongovernmental organizations.

The driver of the van was also killed in the blast. After the explosion, the Coalition called off its monitoring activities, citing the danger involved.

Two other monitors, who were traveling in the same car and may have been working as freelance journalists, were wounded in the explosion. According to a representative of the Coalition, Khurram Parvez sustained severe injuries to his leg. He is in intensive care in a hospital in Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir. Kumar Bharti sustained minor injuries in the blast and is also receiving care at the hospital.