Ashok Sodhi

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Sodhi, a senior photographer with the local English-language Daily Excelsior in Indian-controlled Kashmir, was killed in crossfire in Samba, close to the border with Pakistan, according to news reports.

The BBC said suspected militants holding several hostages exchanged fire with security forces. Three militants, one soldier, and three other civilians were killed in the battle, which lasted several hours, the BBC reported.

Sodhi got his start as a print journalist before becoming a photographer, eventually rising to the position of chief photographer at his newspaper, according to an obituary posted on the citizen journalism Web site Merinews.

The violence was the worst reported in the volatile region since 2002, according to local news reports. Police said militants crossing the border from Pakistan were behind the attacks, according to the reports.

Separatist groups disputing Indian rule of Kashmir have led an often violent insurgency for nearly two decades in the quest for independence or union with Pakistan.

In July 2015, the Press Club of Jammu started an award for photojournalists in Sodhi's honor, reports said.

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