Jammu & Kashmir

Photojournalist alleges harassment by forces in Shopian, PJF seeks action

‘PJF urges LG, DGP to look into incidents on press fraternity in Kashmir’

Pulwama: A freelance photojournalist based in south Kashmir’s Pulwama has alleged armed forces personnel of harassment when he was on way to cover a military operation in Shopian’s Ganapora village on Friday.

According to the journalist Reshi Irshad, his phone and camera were ‘seized by the army personnel’ after being stopped near the operation site.

“I was stopped by the army personnel near the operation site and I told them that I am a journalist going to cover the operation. They refused to give any permission and as soon as I tried to leave the spot, another army officer, CEO perhaps arrived and told his guards to take my mobile phone and camera,” Irshad said.

As per Irshad, at 3:15 pm, he was told to wait for 15 minutes and take his belongings but he said he was made to wait for three hours then. “Despite seizing my equipment without reason, I apologized to the officer time and again but he did listen to me,” he said.

He was then told by the JK police personnel to report at a police station in Shopian for his belongings.

“After leaving Gunapora at 6:00 pm, I directly went to Shopian and waited outside the police station till 8:30 and got my mobile phone and camera, he said, adding he was also made to sign a document.

“I just signed, I don’t know what it was.”

Irshad, who works for different regional and Delhi-based media organizations, said that he has been in the field since 2017 but has not witnessed such ‘harassment’ earlier.

Meanwhile, Pulwama Journalists Federation (PJF) condemned the harassment of photojournalist and PJF member. In a statement, the PJF spokesperson said that Irshad, while covering the military operation in Ganopora area of Shopian on Friday, his camera and mobile phone was snatched by armed forces.

He said that his camera and mobile phone were returned after around 5 hours. The PJF President along with other members have condemned the behaviour and said that the attack comes when journalists are risking their lives amid the pandemic to keep the public informed.

The spokesperson added that the PJF president has taken the incident with concerned authorities to investigate the matter. The PJF members urge LG and Director General of Police to look into these incidents on the press fraternity in Kashmir, the statement said.


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