Between devil and deep sea

is hardly any Kashmir photojournalist who has not been injured during stone-pelting or its aftermath. The overkill of the phenomenon has, off late, arisen several questions. Minister Ali Muhammad Sagar recently said that the arrival of photojournalists or videographers intensifies street battles. This is an argument also put forth by police and paramilitary CRPF. On many occasions, the cops ruthlessly beat up photojournalists when they tried to capture situations like security forces mercilessly thrashing a civilian. Sometimes, the restrictions imposed by the security forces on entry to a troubled area, initiates a brawl with photojournalists and eventually they are beaten up. A contingent of CRPF targeted photojournalists when they protested against cops beating minors playing in a cricket field.
But, photojournalists were rarely targeted by protestors or stone throwers. Over past several months, many such incidents took place when press photographers were targeted by protestors and disallowed to carry out their professional work. Such instances increased ever since the government started targeting stone-pelters with harsh detentions and reprimands. The protestors say that the TV coverage and photographs published in newspapers exposes them and makes it easy to the police to identify and target them. One stone-thrower has reportedly been detained under PSA when his picture with a stone aiming at police was published in a national newspaper. A protestor Fayaz Ahmad said that he was shown an album and CD of stone throwers by the police and asked to spell out coordinates of the other stone-throwers besides himself. “I suspect that police sends its own men in the garb of press photographers to make pictures. This is the reason that some people do not allow cameramen (to shoot),” he explained.


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