Monday, September 1, 2008

Statement Issued jointly by Srinagar based journalists

In the aftermath of the Amarnath land controversy, members of press in Kashmir have been coming under serious attack by the personnel of CRPF and in some measure by the crowds. We have reasons to believe that the attacks happen by deliberate design of the State agencies. When the governor N N Vohra was informed about these attacks, he pleaded ignorance and, in presence of some members of press and the secretary information, instructed the Director General of Police not to let such attacks to continue.

However, to present just one instance, the attacks continued the next day, confirming our suspicion that the attacks are carried out by design. Journalists have faced irrational demands from CRPF personnel manning the streets like "you are not carrying a curfew pass for your camera." Such instances could tell volumes.

For reference, a list of journalists attacked by security forces personnel is attached. It is demanded that the process of intimidation of journalists is stopped to enable press to carry out its professional duties.


Annexure

July 05 - Raashid Wani of Sahara Samay was severely beaten by CRPF at near Jinab Sahib Shrine in Soura. The cameraman spent three days in the hospital.

August, 12 - Bashir Ahmad lone -CNN-IBN cameraman's car was fired at near Lasjan. Raashid Wani was also beaten up in the incident. PRO CRPF later exclaimed that he wonders why the guy is beaten up every time.

August, 13 - Javaid Ahmad Mir- Killed by a bullet from security forces near Bagh-e-Mehtab. He worked as a cameraman with a local cable TV channel.

August 19 - Photojournalist, Amman Farooq, of Greater Kashmir was beaten up and his arm broken by CRPF at Bypass near Qamarwari. His arm was broken.

August, 22 - Muzamil Rashid of IBN 7 was shooting at Habba Kadal when CRPF opened fire on protestors and then tried to snatch his camera. He ran away but was severely thrashed. Sheikh Umar of News 24 was also injured in the same incident.

August 24 - Bilal Bhat, Sahara Samay correspondent along with his team members stopped by CRPF at Rambagh. Even though he had a curfew pass, he was thrashed. Sustained a fracture in his rib. Team members- Jan Mohammad, Rashid Mir, Muzzaffar.

August, 24 - S. Fayaz of UNI was stopped near SMHS hospital. ``When I showed my curfew pass, the CRPF men said it is not valid anymore,'' he said. ``I turned my bike to go back but they started hitting him''.

August 24 - AFP photographer Touseef Mustafa was sent back from Lal Chowk even though he had a curfew pass. The CRPF asked him for Curfew pass of his camera and lens.

August, 24 - Jehangir Aziz of ETV and Khalid Hussain of IBN7 were beaten by CRPF near Rambagh.

August, 24 - Manoj Koul of ETV was also thrashed near Zero Bridge. He had called DIG operations, CRPF M P Nathanael, who told him that the previous curfew passes would be valid. But as he reached near old zero bridge, CRPF men thrashed him.

August 24 - Amin War of Tribune, Firdous Ahmad of News-X and Amin Bhat of NDTV were stopped near Bakshi stadium by the CRPF. The CRPF asked them to stuff their curfew passes back in their pockets and beat them up. ``The CRPF men told us that today, we will do whatever we want. No one can stop us,'' Amin War told The Indian Express.

August 25 - CRPF men patrolling the Tehsil Road in Baramulla smashed the front and back lights of the car of Mir Ehsan, correspondent Indian Express. "They had already smashed my car when they asked for the curfew pass. I had to run away to save myself."

August 24 – Umar Ganaie, a photojournalist of daily Kashmir Monitor, was thrashed by a Superintendent of Kashmir Police in SMHS hospital. The photojournalist tried to show his curfew pass but the SP tore it apart. He was also beaten up by CRPF outside when a police officer asked them to beat him.

August, 24 - The local news papers were not allowed to distribute their copies. Greater Kashmir staff came under assault when Zahoor Ahmad, Mohd. Iqbal, Ghulam Mohammad were stopped early morning at Rambagh and beaten up by CRPF men while they were carrying copies for distribution.
Later in the afternoon, CRPF men thrashed three other employees of Greater Kashmir, Bashir Ahmad Dar, Mohammad Rafiq Margay and Farooq Ahmad Mir were going to their editor's place with curfew passes.
In the evening, Majid Hyderi of Greater Kashmir was intimidated at Hyderpora after CRPF men checked his I-Card and curfew pass. "They abused me and did not allow me go to office," Majid said.

Rising Kashmir staff also came under assault at several places on the same day. Farooq Ahmad of distribution section of Rising Kashmir and the newspaper's system administrator, Rahil, were beaten at Batamaloo while the two were carrying newspapers for distribution.

August 25 - Asif Qureshi of Star News was stopped at Hyderpora by CRPF and beaten up. His car was also smashed while he was coming back from Airport.

August 28 - The Correspondent of Hindu in Kashmir, Shujaat Bukhari's home at Rawalpora, Srinagar was raided by security forces as they were looking for separatist leaders.

August 29 - Hakeem Irfan, Rising Kashmir correspondent, was beaten at Rainawari. "Press wale ho, isi liye maar padi (You were beaten only because you are a journalist," Irfan was told.

August 29 - The news editor of Daily Etalaat, Ishfaq Tantray was stopped near Radio Kashmir in Srinagar and beaten up. He was beaten up. "aap log hungama karte ho (you people are responsible for the problems)".


Others thrashed by CRPF

Syed Muzzaffar - Srinagar Times.

Mukhtar Ahmad - Srinagar Mail.


The mob attacks:

On August 13, the Srinagar Bureau Chief of Aaj Tak, Ashraf Wani was injured and his camera broken this morning when angry crowd attacked him inside the SMHS hospital, Srinagar.

An NDTV cameraman, Amir Bhat was also injured when people attacked his vehicle at SKIMS on August 13.

The correspondent of Daily News Analysis (DNA) Ishfaq-ul-Hassan was thrashed by people near Karan Nagar. He had earlier been stopped by police and was asked to give lift to one of their men. When people saw him carrying a policeman with him, they stopped him and started beating him.


(Issued jointly by Srinagar based journalists)
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