Four photojournalists targeted by forces in Shopian
Srinagar: At least four photojournalists sustained pellet injuries after forces targeted them while performing professional duties during an encounter and clashes in South Kashmir’s Shopian district.
The injured photojournalists were identified as WaseemAndrabi of Hindustan Times, Nisar-ul-Haq, Mir Burhan and Kaisar Mir
The photojournalists while covering the clashes were targeted by the forces with pellets, one of the injured photojournalists said.
He said that besides being targeted by the forces they were assaulted.
Meanwhile, intense clashes erupted in the area soon after the gunfight broke out in the village.
Eye witness said forces fired tear gas and pellets to disperse the youth who were pelting stones.
Meanwhile, various political leaders, pro-freedom leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, trade bodies and media associations condemned the use of force against the photojournalists.
The attack on photojournalists was also condemned by former chief minister Omar Abdullah who took to social networking site Twitter and termed the reports about the injuries to scribes as ‘highly unfortunate’.
“Highly unfortunate reports about journalists injured, including some with pellet injuries, while covering clashes in South Kashmir. I condemn this incident. The indiscriminate use of force, often without any accountability, will always be counterproductive,” Omar tweeted.
Hurriyat Conference (M) Chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq also expressed concern over the pellet injuries to photojournalists who were covering protests.
“No let up in killings and persecution of Kashmiri’s especially the young by Indian forces as six young armed boys martyred since yesterday while unarmed Mohammad Younis grievously injured in head with stones thrown at him and photojournalists covering protests showered with pellets!,” Mirwaiz tweeted.
Moreover, Reporters Without Borders or Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF), an international body for journalists, called upon the Indian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the pellet firing at journalists in south Kashmir’s Shopian district.
On Twitter, RSF said the government forces’ violence’ against Kashmiri photojournalists is ‘unacceptable.’ “Unacceptable violence by #India’s security forces against photojournalists covering a gunfight in south,” RSF tweeted.
“We call on #indian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation on this blatant attack on press freedom. #JournalismIsNotACrime,” it tweeted.
The Kashmir based journalist bodies have condemned the attack on scribes as well.
Soon after the photojournalist’s sustained injuries after being targeted while performing their professional duties in Shopian district during an encounter, the Kashmir Press Club (KPC) condemned the attack on photojournalists, terming it as unfortunate incident.
“It has been reported that the journalists were delivering their professional duties during the encounter and the protests in the area when the security forces fired pellets at them,” the statement issued here said.
“Few photo journalists have received injuries on their faces during this incident,” KPC said while expressing disappointment over such incidents of targeting of journalists.
“It is not the first time such an incident has happened. It is unfortunate that journalists are made a targeted when they are only performing their duties. It is appalling that pellets were fired at them,” said the statement.
KPC also asked the authorities to investigate the incident. The club expressed sympathy with the injured members of the fraternity and hopes for their speedy recovery
Meanwhile, Kashmir Working Journalists Association (KWJA) also took a strong note of today’s attack on photojournalists by government forces in Heff- Shirmal area of Shopian district.
KWJA members expressed sympathies with the photojournalists, who have been injured in the line of duty and pray for their speedy recovery.
“We at KWJA believe the repeated attacks on media fraternity is an attempt to muzzle press freedom and to prevent journalists from performing their professional duties,” the statement said.
“Like in the rest of India, journalists in Kashmir are coming under unwarranted threats and scrutiny, from both state and non-state players. It is no surprise that India has dipped on the press freedom index, prompting global watchdog – RSF to issue an incident report on India,” it added.
“It would be in the national interest for the authorities in India, as well as J&K, to improve their record for press freedom, rather than resort to authoritative measures, that further malign their image,” the statement said.
KWJA sought intervention from J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik and D G Police Dilbag Singh to put an end to the attacks on journalists.
Meanwhile, trade bodies also expressed concern and demanded action in this regard.
President, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad urged Governor Satpal Malik to initiate a high level and time bound judicial probe into the attack on journalists.
Ashiq in a statement issued here said that “the journalists were performing their duties in a very hostile environment, many at times risking their lives.” He said it was unfortunate that despite time and again bringing such incidents of assaults on unarmed civilians to the notice of the government they regularly continue to be repeated.
“It appears that certain forces are being allowed to violate the law will impunity,” he added.
Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) president, Haji Muhammad Yasin Khan condemned the forces assault on the journalists.
Yasin, who also heads the KTMF in a statement issued said journalist were performing their professional duties when forces fired pellets.
“The murderous assault and those responsible for this should be taken to task,” Khan said and asked the Governor Satya Pal Malik to initiate strict action against the culprits.