Police assaults photojournalists in Kashmir20 Mar, 2017
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the police action against photojournalists in Srinagar, Kashmir, on March 16. The IFJ demands action against the police personnel assaulting and abusing photojournalists on duty.
According to reports, the police assaulted Tauseef Mustafa, a photojournalist for Agence France Presse (AFP), and manhandled others photojournalists outside the Hyderpora residence of politician Syed Ali Geelani where they had gone to cover a press conference. Media persons were not allowed to cover the conference and when the leaders tried to reach the journalists, they were forced into a police vehicle and journalists were assaulted.
A police officer clutched Mustafa’s throat and pushed him back when he tried to document the leaders being detained. “We had gone to cover the press conference…, but police disallowed us … So we kept waiting at the Airport Road for more than 15 minutes. When the police detained the leaders, we tried to capture it on our cameras but the police angrily told me to step back, started abusing and beating me and even threatened to kill me” Mustafa told the Rising Kashmir daily.
According to reports, a policeman deliberately sped a police vehicle towards the photojournalists as the journalists ran away trying to save themselves. However, the vehicle ran over the foot of the Greater Kashmir photojournalist, Mubashir Khan. Police also manhandled and abused videographer of Times Now, Umar Sheikh and other photojournalists including Rising Kashmir Photo Editor Farooq Javed Khan and Indian Express photojournalist Shauib Masoodi. The police claimed that the photojournalists tried to proceed ahead despite police warnings, thus inviting the incident.
Soon after the incident, the Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) condemned the incident and the Kashmir Press Photographers Association (KPPA) and working journalists staged a protest demonstration against the assault on Mustafa and other Kashmiri photojournalists.
The IFJ said: “The IFJ condemns the police action against photojournalists of Kashmir and demands immediate action against the involved police officers. The IFJ stands in solidarity with the journalists of Kashmir in their pursuit to uncover the truth and facts; and urges the Kashmiri authorities and the Indian government to ensure that journalists are free to carry on their professional duties of informing the public.”