#Day43: Govt Using Other Means To Restrict Media

KL NEWS NETWORK

SRINAGAR

Who is DM? One CRPF man told a Journalist in Old Srinagar. In this picture, a civilian showing his curfew pass to para-military CRPF personnel to let them go. (KL Image: Mehraj Bhat)
Who is DM? One CRPF man told a Journalist in Old Srinagar. In this picture, a civilian showing his curfew pass to para-military CRPF personnel to let them go. (KL Image: Mehraj Bhat)

A couple of incidents clearly prove that instructions have been given to forces to restrict the movement of the journalists across Kashmir.

The irony is that journalists are not only being stopped but abused and manhandled as well.

Several Kashmir Life staffers could not reach office when forces disregarded the curfew passes issued by DC Srinagar. And when they managed to come after two days, they were not allowed to go home! Even female journalists are not being spared.

Kashmir is under strict curfew for past 42 days which saw mass civil uprising. Forces killed at least 67 civilians while over 7500 persons have been injured.

Here is one such case:

It is deplorable, to say the least.

A female journalist was on way home and was beaten up by police when she stopped to buy vegetables in Srinagar’s Jawahar Nagar area.

Sumaiya is not the first Journalist to face the wrath of the forces, and not the last. But what is appalling is that being a lady didn’t stop forces from abusing, harassing and beating her.

In the current civil uprising since July 09, 2016, several Journalists who were covering mass protests and forces action were roughed up by forces and the protestors.

Sumaiya is one of the few female reporters working in Kashmir. She covers security and related stories for Rising Kashmir.

Given the situation in last over 40 days in Kashmir, Sumaiya did not take off from her jib rather worked tirelessly detailing events unfolding in trouble torn Kashmir. He stories majorly were published as anchor stories in the Srinagar based daily.

Here is the first hand account of what happened with Sumaiya Yousuf when she left for home on August 17, 2016 evening.

Given the prevailing situation in Kashmir, I leave for home after 8 PM as forces deployment leave by then.

Similarly, on August 17 evening (Wednesday), after I filed my story, I drove towards home after 8:30 PM. I received a call from my mother who asked me to buy some vegetables, if possible, she asserted.

SDPO Sadder, IPS Amod Ashok Nagpure
SDPO Sadder, IPS Amod Ashok Nagpure

It was dark and no shop was open on my way home in Baghat area till I stopped near a vegetable vendor in Jawahar Nagar. It was the only shop I could see open in the civil lines area but the vegetable shop owner and his two associates were closing down the shop.

They told me to pick vegetables myself to save the time.

Meanwhile, a police van stopped nearby. Around ten cops descended from the vehicle who straight way started abusing and harassing me.

Immediately, I revealed my identity, showed curfew pass issued by DC Srinagar, thinking it will stop forces from any excesses.

The cop who led the raid took away my card, smashed it on ground. “Call DG, IG (Police),” he shouted on me.

The cops started beating the trio vegetable vendors. It was ruthless.

Being female, I was scared. I was shivering but told the cops to stop beating the innocent persons.

I cannot spell the abuses and invectives the cops spoke about me and my family. The cops’ leader, whom I identified as, Amod Ashok Nagpure, is SDPO Sadder Police Station. He is an IPS officer.

The SDPO even beat me with his stick. My new car was damaged by the plastic stick holding cops.

As tear started rolling down my eyes, I pleaded with them to leave me. They fled the spot and I rang my office.

By the time, my colleagues reached the spot I spoke to DGP who regretted the incident and offered help.

So far, there is no report of any action against the erring cops.

Next day, it was in North Kashmir’s Bandipora that Greater Kashmir and ETV reporters were

On Friday late evening, a senior journalist working with a leading Urdu newspaper refused to go home. “On Thursday evening when I reached home near Chanapora, CRPF personnel stopped me pointing guns on me,” he said.

Last Wednesday night, when the Editor Brighter Kashmir Farooq Ahmed Wani was returning from Press Colony to his house, he was stopped by CRPF personnel at Safakadal.

“After dishonouring curfew pass and ignoring to see the identity card, they (CRPF) hit me with gun butts and asked me to return back. I was shocked and for a moment I thought they will kill me as it was dark and nobody was walking on the road,” Wani said adding, “it seems that the forces have been instructed to harass, maim and kill people without any mercy in Kashmir.”

Greater Kashmir correspondent for Bandipora district and a journalist of a television channel were abused and threatened by the army on Thursday while they were performing their professional duties.

Ejaz-ul-Haq Bhat, Greater Kashmir correspondent for Bandipora district said that he along with Muhammad Sayeed, a correspondent with ETV news channel, were stopped and abused by Army’s 27 RR near Kaloosa when they were travelling on their motorcycle to another village of Onagam.

“They threatened to beat us. They abused and used foul language. We told them (army) that we are journalist and are performing our professional duties. This infuriated them more and they hurled choicest abuses at both of us,” Bhat said.

In Habba Kadal area of Srinagar city, a senior journalist was chased away by a group of CRPF men during the wee hours on Thursday.

“They tried to hit me near Ganpatyar Hababkadal but I escaped unhurt. Despite revealing my identity I was abused,” said a scribe who wished not to be named.

On Friday night, several newspaper offices in Srinagar which have pick and drop facility for their staffers complained that forces disregard the curfew passes issued.

“We returned from Batamaloo when we were on way Bemina to drop staff,” a driver of one such van said, “forces literally abused us.”

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