Bhatia, a photographer for the Indian newspaper The Hindustan Times, was one of at least 12 people killed in a bomb attack in the Kashmir capital, Srinagar. Six other journalists died in the blast.
The militant Kashmiri separatist group Hezb-ul Mujahedeen claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement issued from its headquarters in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.
Hezb-ul Mujahedeen spokesman Salim Hashmi was quoted in the August 11 edition of The Hindustan Times as saying, “We are deeply grieved over the death of a press photographer and injuries to some journalists.” He said the attack had targeted Indian security forces.
However, the choreography of the bombing seemed certain to endanger journalists.
Shortly after noon on Thursday, August 10, a grenade was thrown toward the entrance of the State Bank of India, near Residency Road in central Srinagar. This initial blast lured journalists and security forces to the area and was followed about 15 minutes later by the detonation of a powerful car bomb within a few feet of the crowd.
Bhatia, 31, died of shrapnel wounds to his heart, according to the Indian newspaper The Asian Age. Including Bhatia, nine journalists have been killed in Kashmir since 1989, when a long-running conflict between Muslim separatists and Indian government forces became a full-scale civil war.