Mobsters Attack Kashmir Observer Journalists

Srinagar: Two private vehicles owned by Kashmir Observer staffers Monday came under severe attack from the stone pelters at two different locations in Srinagar and Pampore when they were on way to their office at Dalgate, injuring at least two journalists.

“We were passing through Khyam Chowk when a barrage of stones hit our vehicle smashing its windscreen besides causing other damage ,” Managing Editor, Farooq Shah, said. “It was a miraculous escape as one stone almost hit my head while another hit my arm, injuring it slightly.”

After seeing “Press” sticker pasted on the front mirror of the car, the protestors turned violent and started hitting the car from all directions. They manhandled the journalist and damaged his car.

Another staffer, Muntazir Yaseen, also had a narrow escape when stone pelters attacked his vehicle at Pampore. “I was taken aback as several stones hit my vehicle smashing its window glasses,” he said. “I suffered minor injuries from flying shards of glass but luckily wasn’t seriously injured.”

Photographs of the damaged vehicles show smashed windscreen and broken window.

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The authorities had on Monday relaxed the curfew but soon re-imposed it after violence broke out in many parts of the city.

Separatist leadership which has been issuing protest calendars since the killing of Hizb militant Burhan Wani on July 8, had ensured journalist would not be attacked.

“It’s the journalists who have come under fire from all directions since the outbreak of violence following the militant commander’s killing,” Farooq Shah said. “Sometimes, it’s the police that attack journalists, and sometimes it’s the stone-pelters.”

“Journalists have been working under extremely difficult conditions but still we manage to do our job honestly braving all dangers almost on daily basis,” said Shah. “Incidents such as these render our job even more perilous.”

In almost two months covering protests in Kashmir, a number of journalists have faced intimidation, detention and injury. Others have had their equipment broken or been physically prevented from doing their job.

However, there have been more reports of violence against journalists being perpetrated by police forces.

India is ranked 140th out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

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