Gunmen shot and killed the editor of a newspaper that supported government negotiations with militants in India's troubled northeastern state of Assam, police said yesterday.

Anil Majumdar, editor of the daily newspaper Aji, was shot in the chest seven times outside his house late Tuesday in Assam's main city of Guwahati.

Mr Majumdar had backed talks with the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), an ethnic guerilla force that has fought for an independent homeland since 1979.

"He was returning from his office and was about to enter his residence when unidentified gunmen fired at him," senior police official G.P. Singh said.

The ULFA has been blamed for much of the violence in an insurgency that has killed more than 10,000 people in Assam in the past two decades.

The killing comes days after the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said that reporters in South Asia were at "severe risk" due to increasing violence.

The press rights watchdog placed India 14th on a list of countries where journalists are killed regularly and governments fail to solve the crimes.

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