Assault on photojournalists: Protests in Press Enclave, Editors Guild seeks action against state’s principal arm

Srinagar:

Photojournalists working with various local, mainland Indian and International news agencies, magazines, and other mediums on Thursday afternoon staged a protest demonstration here at press colony after photojournalists Tawseef Mustafa who is working for Agence France Presse (AFP) and Mubashir Khan working with Greater Kashmir were assaulted by forces while performing professional duties outside the residence of Hurriyat patriarch Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

The journalists said that they had gone there to cover the protest. “Cops stopped us and told us not to move forward. We waited for almost 15 minutes till Hurriyat leaders came out and we moved ahead to click the pictures, but again they stopped us and told us not to move ahead.”

AFP photographer Tawseef Mustafa was actually caught by an officer by his throat and attempted suffocating him. He even threatened him of dire consequences.

Farooq Javed Khan, the president of the Kashmir Press Photographers Association, who was personally present on the spot, said a police driver rushed his rakshak seemingly to hit the scribes. While they barely managed to save themselves, Mubashir Khan of Greater Kashmir had the vehicle crushing his foot.

The photographers, who are part of the highly dedicated and disciplined press corps, were waiting outside the venue and when the three leaders came out, and police started arresting them, they put their cameras on and started working. This was the time when cops deployed on the spot objected to their action and started marshalling them.

Meanwhile, Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) has strongly condemned the police action against newsmen while covering the attempted joint press conference of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik at Hyderpora. While entire press corps that had assembled to cover the event were threatened and chased, at least two news photographers were beaten for no reason at all, a statement of the guild said.

There are clear photo and video evidences offering a clear detail of the police assault.

KEG has taken a strong exception to the misuse of power for muzzling the media. This has, unfortunately, been a routine than an exception. Last time, while photographers were covering an event in Bijbehara, cops actually fired a projectile on one of them outside the hospital gate, thus pushing him to hospital for many weeks for a broken arm.

Given the frequency with which the police is abusing its authority to restrict the role and responsibility of the media, KEG is seeking an intervention of the government at the highest level to ensure that state’s principal arm does not exhibit an abnormal growth.

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