Reporters Without Borders or Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF), an international body for journalists, on Tuesday called upon the Indian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the pellet firing at journalists in south Kashmir’s Shopian district.
Taking to social networking site Twitter, RSF said the government forces’ violence’ against Kashmiri photojournalists is ‘unacceptable.’
“Unacceptable violence by #India’s security forces against photojournalists covering a gunfight in the south,” RSF tweeted.
“We call on #indian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation on this blatant attack on press freedom. #JournalismIsNotACrime,” it tweeted.
Meanwhile, Kashmir Video Journalist Association (KVJA) has condemned the attack on journalists in Shopian today.
In a statement, KVJA said that this has become a routine that journalists while performing their professional duties are either thrashed or at time showered with pellets.
KVJA appeals to Governor and DGP to initiate Strict action against those who are involved in today’s incident and make sure that it doesn’t happen in future.
Kashmir working Journalists Association (KWJA) has taken strong note of today’s attack on photojournalists by government forces in Heff- Shirmal area of Shopian district.
KWJA members express sympathies with the photojournalists, who have been injured in the line of duty and pray for their speedy recovery.
We at KWJA believe the repeated attacks on media fraternity is an attempt to muzzle press freedom and to prevent journalists from performing their professional duties.
Like in the rest of India, journalists in Kashmir are coming under unwarranted threats and scrutiny, from both state and non-state players. It is no surprise that India has dipped on the press freedom index, prompting global watchdog – RSF to issue an incident report on India.
“It would be in the national interest for the authorities in India, as well as J&K, to improve their record for press freedom, rather than resort to authoritative measures, that further malign their image,” the statement said.
KWJA seeks intervention from J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik and D G Police Dilbag Singh to put an end to the attacks on journalists.
Kashmir press photographers association (KPPA) said the photojournalists visited the encounter spot in Shopian to carry out their professional duties. “…but they were showered with pellets from a close range,” it said.
“KPPA believes that the oft-repeated assault on the photojournalists is uncalled for and employing such tactics by the government forces won’t deter us from carrying out our professional duties,” the statement said.
The association also urged the Governor Satya Pal Malik and Director General of Police Dilbag Singh to look into the matter and order a magisterial enquiry into the incident followed by strict action against the erring personnel.
Kashmir Press Club has also condemned the attack on photojournalists in Shopian today.
“It has been reported that the journalists were delivering their professional duties during the encounter and the protests in the area when the security forces fired pellets at them. Few photojournalists have received injuries on their faces during this incident,” KPC said in a statement.
KPC expressed disappointment over such incidents of targetting of journalists. “It is not the first time such an incident has happened. Most unfortunate that journalists are made a target when they are only performing their duties. It is appalling that pellets were fired at them”, said the statement.
Kashmir Press Club has asked the authorities to investigate the incident. The club expresses sympathy with the injured members of the fraternity and hopes for their speedy recovery.
Kashmir journalists association condemns the murderous attack on photojournalists by forces today in Shirmal area of Shopian.
A statement issued by the association here, said that journalists in Kashmir are being targeted on a routine basis now and the absence of accountability is leading to increased attacks on scribes performing their duty.
“Four photojournalists that include Waseem Andrabi, Junaid Gulzar, Mir Burhan, and Nisar ul Haq who had gone to south Kashmir’s Shopian to cover an encounter between the forces and militants, were shot from a close range by pellet shotguns with dozens of metal-ball pellets receiving injuries on face and neck,” said the spokesman.
“We believe that such tactics employed by the state forces are aimed at muzzling the voice of common people,” it said.
“We deem these oft-repeated attacks as an attack on the freedom of the press,” said the statement.
“Rather than stifling our voice, such attacks strengthen our resolve and commitment to work with more dedication and determination to highlight the issues faced by the common people,” said the statement.
Earlier four photojournalists were hit by pellets fired by the forces near the site of the gunfight in Shirmal area of Shopian where three militants were killed in a gunfight.