Six senior journalists from Kashmir were barred from covering R-Day function at Sher-e-Kashmir Stadium by the Jammu and Kashmir police following an ‘adverse report’ from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), The Indian Express reported.
“The CID report in respect of below-mentioned persons belonging to Media group has been found adverse and you are directed not to permit them inside the venue as their media cards for Republic Day 2019 treated as cancel,” the Security Wing of the J&K Police wrote in a letter signed by the Additional Superintendent of Police, Security, Kashmir, reported The Indian Express.
According to report Published by The Indian Express said that the letter named Mehraj-ud-Din and Umar Mehraj, Bureau Chief and video journalist respectively of Associated Press Television (APTN), AFP photojournalist Tawseef Mustafa, ANI Bureau Chief Bilal Ahmad Bhat, Reuters photojournalist Danish Ismail Wani, and Daily Kashmir Uzma photojournalist Aaman Farooq.
All six journalists are accredited with the Information Department of the J&K government. Soon after these journalists were denied entry to the venue, all journalists boycotted the Republic Day function. In the afternoon, journalists took out a rally in Srinagar to protest against the police action.
Additional Director General of Police, Security and Law & Order, Muneer Khan told The Sunday Express: “Once this matter was brought to my notice, I sought a detailed report from SSP Security.”
The report quoted a senior official of the J&K Police’s Security wing as having said they had acted only because the CID gave an adverse report against these journalists. “The verification process is conducted by the CID and once they give an adverse report against anybody, we can’t allow them to go inside the venue for security reasons,” the official said.
The Kashmir Editors’ Guild (KEG) condemned the police action. “The action by the security men on the ground suggests that the security establishment wishes to frighten the media by not allowing them to carry out their professional duties,” the Guild said.
In a statement, K Vijay Kumar, Adviser to the J&K Governor, said: “It is learnt that today at Republic Day parade venue in Srinagar some journalists were not permitted to cover the event as the security passes issued to them were found not to be authenticated. The matter shall be looked into.”
He said it appeared that the incident had occurred because of the procedure followed by the police for issuing passes for such events. “The entire process of such security clearance shall be reviewed for better coordination in future,” he said.
Director General of J&K Police Dilbag Singh told The Sunday Express: “I haven’t received any such report. I was busy with the Republic Day function in Jammu but there was no objection (to journalists covering the function) to my knowledge.”