Kamran Yousuf, a multimedia journalist working with a news portal, and Faisal Bashir, a freelancer, were beaten by policemen near the site of the shoot-out in Marwal Kakapora village of Pulwama.
At least two photojournalists were allegedly beaten by security forces when they were covering a gunfight between militants and security forces in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Tuesday, prompting protests by members of the fraternity in the Valley.
Kamran Yousuf, a multimedia journalist working with a news portal, and Faisal Bashir, a freelancer, were beaten by policemen near the site of the shoot-out in Marwal Kakapora village of Pulwama. Yousuf had to be hospitalized in Srinagar for treatment of injuries to his limbs, and the doctors told him he had suffered a mild fracture in his right leg.
The alleged assault triggered outrage among the journalistic fraternity in the Kashmir Valley, where calls were made to the lieutenant governor and the police top brass to “sensitise” members of security forces about how media professionals function.
According to Yousuf, many journalists reached the outer security ring near the encounter site in the morning on Tuesday to cover the shoot-out and started taking pictures when they were told by Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel present there to move a bit farther.
“When we started leaving, suddenly some policemen came rushing towards me. They told me to stop and simply started raining batons [on me] without asking anything,” Yousuf said. “I was surrounded by them and if somehow I had not managed to slip away, I would have been severely injured by their assault. They even chased me.”
Bashir also said he was assaulted without any reason. “I was on the bund of the Jhelum when they told me to come down. They rained batons on my back and also hit my camera. After assaulting me, they caught hold of Kamran who was behind me,” he said.
Inspector general of police Vijay Kumar did not comment on the incident and urged the media to instead contact Pulwama superintendent of police Ashish Kumar Mishra ,who did not respond to a call from HT.
Senior journalist Yusuf Jameel said beating up,harassing and intimidating journalists in Kashmir wasn’t something new. “We’ve lived with & endured it for yrs.What is,however,more disgusting rather despicable is the authorities,after every such incident,assuring ‘it will not happen again.’ I see it also as rubbing salt in the wound, “ he wrote in a tweet.
The Kashmir Press Club (KPC) and Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) slammed the police for the assault.
“Going by the account of Kamran, it is clear that the police has targeted the journalists to stop them from carrying out their professional work which is reprehensible,” the KPC said in a statement, and demanded action against the police who took part in the assault.
KEG demanded that the police leadership in Kashmir sensitize members of the force on how the media operates and to investigate the assault.
“It has emerged as a routine for the police and the security forces to assault the journalists while covering the happenings on the ground…The Guild want the LG Jammu and Kashmir to personally look into the assault,” the editors’ body said in a statement.
Source: Hindustan Times