Kashmir Journalist Association (KJA) has expressed serious concern over assault and curbs on the movement of journalists in Kashmir.
The spokesperson of the association in a statement said that two recent instances including curbing entry to journalists in polling stations and from covering the funeral of militant Mannan Wani explicitly demonstrate the government’s clampdown on media in the Valley.
The spokesperson said in the ongoing civic elections, journalists were stopped by government forces at several places from entering polling stations despite carrying valid election cards issued by Chief Electoral Officer.
“Another shocking incident took place in north Kashmir’s Lolab village where media persons, who were heading to cover a funeral of militant Manan Wani on October 11 were held hostage for several hours. This was aimed at not allowing journalists from covering that day’s newsworthy event. Reporters on the spot contacted almost all the top police officers for intervention but all of them dodged their requests,” he said.
“In Islamabad, three journalists Fayaz Lolu, Deen Imran and Junaid Rafiq had to face the wrath of CRPF and police at Ashajipora when they were stopped by the forces from performing their professional duties and ruthlessly beaten. Their cameras and other equipment have also been damaged while the case is yet to be registered,” said KJA spokesperson in a statement.
He said that all these incidents expose the muddled behavior of the security establishment including the J&K police.
“KJA feels that stopping journalists from doing their professional duties is a criminal act and it reflects that the set constitutional and democratic values are not respected in the state.”
The journalist body says the democratic institutions form the bedrock of any society and its institutional arms but under such situation, these may become vile.
KJA appeals the Governor Satya Pal Malik and top police and civil administration to stop muzzling of the press, which is the fourth estate of democracy and acts as a mirror for any civilized society.