SRINAGAR, Kashmir — A well-known journalist in Kashmir who worked to bring stability and peace to the mountainous, war-afflicted region, was shot to death on Thursday.
Shujaat Bukhari was leaving his office in Srinagar, the capital of Indian-administered Kashmir, when three assailants riding on a motorcycle shot him and two of his bodyguards, the police said.
Mr. Bukhari, 50, was hit in the head and abdomen and died shortly afterward. Both of his bodyguards were also killed. It was the first time in nearly a decade that a journalist has been murdered in Kashmir, a region that has long divided India and Pakistan.
“He’s a true martyr to the cause of courageous journalism,” Shekhar Gupta, a prominent Indian journalist, wrote on Twitter.
Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, a state lawmaker in Kashmir, said by telephone that the attack was “very meticulous, well planned, targeted.”
The police have released security-camera images of the attackers, but they have not been identified and no militant group active in Kashmir has claimed responsibility. But Mr. Tarigami said Mr. Bukhari, one of the region’s most recognizable journalists, was targeted for a reason.
“They want to send a message,” he said. “There will be a demoralizing effect on the journalist community.”
Kashmir has long been embroiled in bloody conflict between Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan, which both claim parts of the rugged, Himalayan territory. In three decades of fighting, tens of thousands of people have been killed and injured, and in the last couple of years, the conflict has worsened.
Earlier on Thursday, the United Nations released its first report on human rights violations in Kashmir, calling for an international investigation into accounts of torture, disappearances and sexual violence committed by India and Pakistan.
Mr. Bukhari, who is survived by a wife and two children, was seen as a centrist and a strong voice for peace. He had been attacked in the past, including in an abduction attempt nearly a decade ago.
For over a decade, Mr. Bhukari was a columnist and the editor in chief of Rising Kashmir, a leading English-language daily published in Srinagar. He published work in Kashmiri, Urdu and English and worked for many years as a correspondent for The Hindu, one of India’s major newspapers.
Mr. Bukhari was also attuned to the political pulse of the region, organizing conferences in the United States and India to discuss ways to resolve the Kashmir conflict.
In a February interview with The New York Times, Mr. Bukhari