SRINAGAR: National Conference on Saturday condemned the thrashing of journalists by police at Jamia Masjid Nowhatta saying the impunity with which such attacks are taking place in Kashmir is ominous and reflective of the everyday reprisals faced by them in their line of duty.
“The reports of police action against two journalists Saqib Majid and Shafat Farooq, who were covering protests at Jamia Masjid, are distressing and condemnable,” said Party Spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar while slamming the incident. “Such unwarranted attacks on journalists have become a norm now. It is not for the first time that such an incident has taken place. Earlier at various instances, the local press fraternity had been subjected to such undue police action. After every such attack, we only get to hear half-hearted assurances from police on stopping such attacks from recurring. Had the administration, in particular, the police reined earlier, the fresh incidents of thrashing journos wouldn’t have surfaced.”
“Being a journalist is not an easy job in Kashmir at first place, the everyday reprisals in the shape of advertisement bans on local dailies, harassment and ominous physical assault had made their job more challenging. I on my behalf of my party condemn such an unwarranted action against the journalists in unequivocal terms. There is no scope of such undue harassment of the press fraternity in a democratic setup,” he said.
Imran said such attacks threaten the very freedom of speech that has been guaranteed by the constitution. Besides facing intimidation and harassment from various quarters, the local media fraternity also faces difficulties unimaginable anywhere else. “There has never been a time in recent years in Kashmir when it wasn’t dangerous to be a journalist. There is no single fix for the situation, but there are various discrete actions that can help. First and foremost allowing the fraternity to work freely, sensitizing the police about the role of the press and finally putting an end to undue indirect intimidation in the shape of banning government ads to the local dailies,” he added.
While expressing unison with the journalists who were thrashed in the line of their duty, Imran sought strict action against the erring cops. “I pray for the early recuperation of the injured journos. I hope and pray for their wellbeing,” he added.