#KashmirNow: Why Messenger is The Target?


By Bilal Handoo

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Representative photo by AFP/Aamir QURESHI

Representative photo by AFP/Aamir QURESHI

It’s not for the first time when pack of charged media floggers attacked the press in full public gaze. And perhaps in present tense atmosphere, it won’t be the last time. It happened during 2014 floods and Kashmir ended up losing its treasure trove of tragedy forever. And if it is happening again, then one can only conclude how we are robbing significant documentation of another tragic phase of Kashmir.

This afternoon, as the news broke that another body bag from south had reached Srinagar’s SMHS, the Kashmiri photojournalists—both local and those working with international media houses—rushed to the spot only to face vicious media assaulters.

Among those badly thrashed was Kashmir’s ace award-winning photojournalist who has covered Afghan War—Dar Yasin—working for global news agency AP.

The lankly lensman already nursing leg injury was thrashed for simply capturing image of another dead body of young being piled up in ongoing summer dissent by a different regime with the same old ‘bullet for stone’ tactics.

Dar Yasin
Dar Yasin

The Friday media attack on Dar and his colleague from AFP, Rubika, once again highlighted the “local anger” against “national” media. While getting roughed up, Dar vainly argued with the crowd that he is a local Journalist working for an international media outlet but kicks and fists never ceased. It was only after a local boy intervened that Dar was spared from public flogging.

Such was the fury demonstrated by media’s judge, jury and hangmen stationed at SMHS gates that a lady journalist from England had to run for her life and take shelter in a nearby house. Now, imagine if the same foreign lady tomorrow writes her Kashmir experience in international media by detailing this side of Kashmiris? Won’t it prick the conscience of traditional “pacifists” and “hospitable”?

It is understandable these are the tough times for scribes to discharge their duties in Kashmir. But amid keeping the larger saner sense in view, it is also true how sleuths often mix up in such groups only to instigate attacks on media. People must take note to these nasty attacks—or, another grave documentation will have the ‘deluge’ fate.

One last word: journalists — whom most of you love to call “pressitudes” or “informers” — are the ones who risk their lives to report the crisis around. Attacking them is an attack on Kashmir chronicle. Let’s not derive sadistic pleasure by whipping those who make us aware what is happening in Kashmir.

Do not kill the messenger. Your attacks weaken the victims only!


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