Scribes face hostile CRPF, unfriendly voters

SRINAGAR: Most of the reporters and photographers working for various media outlets Wednesday suffered the ordeal of being insulted by both paramilitary personnel as well as  the voters.

Despite authority letters from the Election Commissioner of India, the troops of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Wednesday stopped journalists from entering a polling station in Srinagar outskirts and allowed them only after police intervened.

While covering polls for Srinagar Lok Sabha Constituency in the outskirts of Srinagar city’s Baghwanpora, Noorbagh, several journalists were barred by CRPF to enter polling stations despite having authority letters.

“You are not allowed to enter. You can’t go inside. Media is not allowed,” a reporter working with New Delhi-based news channel, said, while quoting a CRPF trooper posted at the polling station.

He, however, said after police men posted at the polling station intervened and told CRPF men ‘not interfere in the work of media persons’.

“The CRPF men even tried to argue with police but police categorically told them not to intervene as we were carrying authority letters and later we were allowed to go inside,” he said.

The Public Relation Officer (PRO) of CRPF, Kishore Prasad said that he will look into the matter.

 Meanwhile the voters in one of the areas of Jammu and Kashmir’s capital Srinagar on Wednesday allegedly threatened and abused journalists covering parliamentary elections.

Several media men – working with local, national and international organizations – who were covering polls at polling booth number 77 Palpora A in Noorbagh alleged that dozens of voters hurled abuses and threat and also misbehaved with them.

“I was covering polls at Palpora. There were queues of people including elderly persons. As I started to click their photographs they shouted and told me to shut the camera. I tried to make them understand that I am doing my professional duty but many of them hurled abuses and finally I was forced to shut my camera and retreat,” said a local lens man.

“We told them that it is our job and asked them not to interfere but they didn’t pay heed to my repeated requests,” said Zubair Dar who works with Tehran-based Press TV.

Another journalist, who works with a New Delhi-based news channel, alleged that people forced them to retreat from the area by saying that media men ‘hide realities’. “Several people who were inside the polling booth threatened us by saying ‘we will thrash you if you didn’t leave the place’,” he said.

Newsgathering agency GNS has reported that the photo journalists have suffered similar ordeals while covering the elections in Chariwan area of Charar-e-Shareef in Budgam district.

“There were hundreds of people who were in queues to cast their vote. We started to photograph them but they became infuriated. They forced us to close the cameras and threatened us ,” said the freelancer Yawar Nazir.  

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