SRINAGAR: In the ongoing 5th phase of DDC elections, three journalists were beaten by security forces in Srigufwara area of south Kashmiri’s Anantnag district on Thursday.
Three TV freelancers Fayaz Lolu (ETV Bharat) Mudasir Qadri (News 18 Urdu) and Junaid Rafiq (TV 9) alleged that they were beaten in Srigufwara in presence of the SSP. They said their equipment was seized and they were taken to the local police post.
Fayaz Ahamd said “when I took byte of a local ‘PAGD’ candidate who alleges that he was not allowed to cast his vote. And when he contacted SSP Shopian for the official version, he along with other journalists Mudasir Qadri of news 18 and Juanid Ahmad of TV-9 were beaten and all the equipments were seized, he alleges.
As the officer’s vehicle reached the spot, he avoided giving them a bite and instead started beating them. They said they were taken to the police station and their equipment was seized. During their stay in the station, one of them had a panic attack and was taken to hospital.
By now, the equipment has been returned to them and they have been sent home.
Meanwhile,Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) has expressed its serious concern over the use of force against three freelance reporters, contributing to three TV channels, while covering the DDC polls in Anantnag.
The Guild is surprised over the reason that the cops resorted to force when everything around was normal. The three TV reporters revealed that they had recorded a political activist’s compliant about the polling and were told by a duty officer that the SSP was on way and wanted to give his version.
KEG is concerned over the recurrence of these incidents in which reporters are being subjected to violence while discharging their professional duties. Apparently, there is no reason for today’s incident to happen. Why should a reporter be beaten when the officer has the right to not respond to a question? KEG hopes the LG Manoj Joshi administration will look into the incident and ensure that this practice of abuse of authority is put to an end.
The Kashmir Press Club also strongly condemns the thrashing of three freelance journalists who work as stringers for various news organisations, by the police in South Kashmir. The incident happened when these individuals were covering the ongoing DDC elections in the area this morning.
In a distress call to the club Fayaz Lolu who works as a stringer with ETV Bharat stringer told the Kashmir Press Club management that he along with two other Journalists Mudasir Qadri (stringer with News 18 Urdu) and Junaid Rafiq (TV 9) were “beaten” today while covering the ongoing DDC elections in Srigufwara area of South Kashmir.
He also said that their news gathering equipments were also seized by the police. Fayaz Lolu alleged that it was when the SSP of Anantnag arrived on the spot that they were beaten up ruthlessly and taken to the nearest police post. Fayaz further stated that Junaid has been injured and was in hospital.
The Kashmir Press Club terms this incident unfortunate and calls for a thorough inquiry into the incident. We hope strict action against is taken against those found guilty in this act perpetrated in utter disregard of the freedom of the press. The KPC further urges the Chief Electoral Officer to take note of such incidents and initiate action against the concerned police official.
The KPC further urges that the authorities should ensure that an enabling atmosphere is created for the free and fair functioning of the media in Kashmir.