Journalists injured in Kashmir gun battle

New York, July 29, 2005—As many as eight journalists were injured today in Srinagar, the major city of Indian Kashmir, after a grenade attack triggered gunfire between militants and security forces in the area, according to international news reports and local reporters.

At least one journalist, Muzzafar Ahmad Bhat, a cameraman for the Indian news channel Sahara TV, was critically injured and taken to Srinagar Hospital, two local reporters told the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Armed militants exploded at least one grenade in a main street of the city late afternoon, according to international news reports and local reporters. The blast struck near the offices of several media organizations, and several of the journalists who arrived on the scene to report on the explosion were caught in the crossfire of an ensuing gun battle, local reporters said.

Senior police officer S.A. Sayeed told The Associated Press that 10 civilians, including eight journalists, were injured in the crossfire.

Militant groups Al Mansurian and Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen called the Srinagar-based news agency Current News Service to claim responsibility for the attacks, according to international news reports.

Rebel groups have been fighting in Indian-controlled Kashmir for independence or union with Pakistan since 1989.