Srinagar: Journalists covering the gunfight in Fateh Kadal area of Srinagar city were physically assaulted and abused by the armed forces near the site of the gunfight on Wednesday.
The journalists were performing their professional duties when the SOG and CRPF personnel started hitting them. At least ten journalists were physically assaulted up by the forces.
While speaking to Free Press Kashmir, journalists who had been present at the scene said that they had been ‘beaten mercilessly in front of senior officers’.
“There was no stone pelting going on,” a journalist from news agency ABP told FPK spoke over the phone. “All of us were just standing there, reporting from the ground and talking to DIG Kashmir when suddenly, there was a lot of shouting by the security men and then they started beating us. My cameraman was first hit on his left elbow. While I tried to stop them, I was also beaten. The DIG tried to intervene, but they completely disregarded him. Then SP North Kashmir also started beating a few people. I’m not sure if they were journalists.”
However, another journalist from Hindustan Times confirmed to FPK that the SP had physically assaulted journalists. “SP Cargo also hit a few journalists,” the journalist added.
“One of the SOG personnel threw the ABP journalist in the drain while we were taking photographs of the site,” said a journalist from India TV, while speaking to FPK.
“When he questioned him, they started lathi-charging all of us. The DIG tried to stop a lot of SOG personnel from hitting us, but they disregarded him. They also fired in the air to disperse us. After we assembled back, they stopped us from going forward to the gunfight spot.”
Meanwhile, New York based independent watchdog, Committee to Protect Journalists and Kashmir Press Club condemned the ‘attack on journalists’. CPJ in a tweet, stated:
Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir should not be assaulting journalists for doing their jobs. Obstructing and beating up reporters as they cover elections and demonstrations is a direct attack on press freedom #JournalismIsNotACrime https://t.co/9Wt3HBUggl
— CPJ Asia (@CPJAsia) October 16, 2018
The Kashmir Press Club condemned the attack while further stating that one of the injured journalists was an executive member.
“The KPC has expressed shock over this behavior by the forces. It hopes that the state administration will take note of this and act,” the statement read.
The president of the KPC, Mukhtiar Khan, while speaking to FPK said that the club had spoken to the journalists who had been physically assaulted and a press release would be issued soon.
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