Eleven Killings in Kashmir Journalism

JK Bank
Mushtaq Ali, a photographer who was killed in a ‘parcel bomb' is buried at martyrs graveyard Eidgah.

Lassa Kaul

Director, Doordarshan

Date: February 13, 1990, Location: Srinagar

Kaul was allegedly killed by militants on his way home. The then Governor Jagmohan explained the murder on the grounds that Kaul had incurred the wrath of the “terrorists” by broadcasting programs, which the militants thought were “un-Islamic”.

Mohammed Shaban Vakil

Editor, Al-Safa

Date: April 23, 1991. Location: Srinagar

In April 1991 some unidentified gunmen barged into the office of the Al-Safa newspaper and shot dead its editor Mohammed Shaban Vakil. The killing is still wrapped in mystery. Many believe his famous column Kadva Sach (The Bitter Truth) might have entailed his death.

Ghulam Muhammad Lone


August 29, 1994. Location: Kangan

Lone, a newspaper agent and freelancer who contributed to several publications was killed by a group of masked gunmen when they fired indiscriminately inside his house. Lone’s eight-year-old son also died in the shootout. Police had said militants killed Lone but his family blames Army.

Mushtaq Ali


September 10, 1995. Location: Srinagar

Ali, a photographer for Agence France-Presse (AFP) and a camera operator for Asian News International, was killed when a ‘parcel bomb’ addressed to Yusuf Jameel, Srinagar Correspondent for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Reuters, exploded in his hands on September 7. After three days he succumbed to his injuries.

Ghulam Rasool Sheikh

Editor Rehnuma-e-Kashmir and Saffron Times

April 10, 1996

Sheikh had written about increase in killings and arson incidents across his hometown, Pampore. Family members say a militia group backed by Indian security forces had kidnapped him March and later murdered him.

Altaf Ahmed Faktoo


January 1, 1997 Location: Srinagar

Faktoo was an anchor for the state owned Doordarshan television station in Srinagar. He was assassinated on January 1 by unidentified gunmen, who used a silencer gun to shoot him. He had received repeated threats. Faktoo had aired pro-government news reports that were critical of the separatist movement.

Saidan Shafi


March 16, 1997

Shafi was a reporter with “Kashmir File”, a Doordarshan news program, and “Eyewitness”, a five-minute fortnightly news capsule. He was fatally shot on March 16 in an ambush by two gunmen in Srinagar. His personal security guard also was killed in the attack. “Kashmir File” was critical of militant Kashmiri separatists in the state, and he told colleagues he had received threats from some people for what they said was his “biased” reporting.

Pradeep Bhatia

The Hindustan Times

August 10, 2000 Location: Srinagar

Bhatia, a photographer for Hindustan Times, was one of at least 12 people killed in a bomb attack on Indian paramilitary troops in Srinagar. The militant group Hiz-ul-Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the attack. However, the spokesman of the outfit 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.”

Parvaiz Mohammed Sultan

News and Feature Alliance

January 31, 2003. Location: Srinagar

Sultan, editor of the independent newswire service News and Feature Alliance (NAFA), a local news gathering agency, was shot dead by an unidentified gunman. Associated Press (AP) reported the killer used a pistol with a silencer. Sultan, 36, had worked for several local Urdu language dailies during his career. In addition to running NAFA, he contributed investigative stories and columns to the Urdu-language newspaper Chattan, one of the oldest newspapers in Kashmir. Police blamed the murder on militant groups but have not yet conducted a thorough investigation. No group claimed responsibility for Sultan’s murder, and many of the leading militant organizations, including Hizb-ul-Mujahideen as also All Parties Hurriyat Conference condemned the murder.

Ashok Sodhi

Daily Excelsior

May 11, 2008. Location: Samba

Sodhi, a senior photographer with the Jammu based English language Daily Excelsior was killed in crossfire in Samba, close to the border with Pakistan. 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.

Javed Ahmed Mir

Channel 9 (a local cable channel)

August 13, 2008. Location: Srinagar

Security forces shot and killed Mir while he was covering protests during the resurrected Azadi campaign that started over Amarnath shirne land transfer in June. The cameraman, who had two other jobs to support his wife and three children, was called from a wedding to cover a growing protest rally on a main road in Srinagar, and was shot in the head while waiting for equipment to arrive from the news channel.

Photo: Muhabit-ul-Haq

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  1. We readers have noted the careful use of terms ‘Indian forces’ and ‘unidentified gunmen’! (Even if the gunmen were identified, you would find some Indian conspiracy behind it!)

    So much for truth and courage!

    Lage raho Kashmirwalla! :)