4 Photojournalists Injured In Pellet Firing In Shopian

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SRINAGAR — Four photojournalists were injured due to pellet firing by government forces at Shopian in south Kashmir’s Shopian district .

Reports said that a group of photojournalists was covering the gunfight in Shirmal orchards when the government forces shot several pellet fires at them injuring many.

The injured include photojournalists— Waseem Andrabi, Nisar-ul-Haq, Junaid Gulzar and Mir Burhan.

The photojournalists suffered injuries in face and neck and were shifted to primary health centres for treatment.

Meanwhile, Reporters without Borders or Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF), an international body for journalists, on Tuesday called upon the Indian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the pellet firing at journalists in south Kashmir’s Shopian district.

In a statement on Twitter, RSF said the government forces’ ‘violence’ against Kashmiri photojournalists is ‘unacceptable.’

 “Unacceptable violence by #India’s security forces against photojournalists covering a gunfight in south,” RSF tweeted.

 “We call on #indian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation on this blatant attack on press freedom. #JournalismIsNotACrime,” it tweeted.

Jammu Kashmir Editors Forum condemned the attack and urged government to ensure safety and protection of media persons working in Kashmir. “It is their constitutional and moral duty to provide a conducive environment for media persons.”

Kashmir Press photographers association (KPPA) said the photo journalists visited the encounter spot in Shopian to carry out their professional duties.  “They were showered with pellets from a close range,” it said in a statement issued here.

 “KPPA believes that the oft-repeated assault on the photojournalists is uncalled for and employing such tactics by the government forces won’t deter us from carrying out our professional duties,” the statement said and urged the Governor Satya Pal Malik and Director General of Police Dilbag Singh to look into the matter and order a magisterial enquiry into the incident followed by strict action against the erring personnel.

Kashmir Video Journalists Association (KVJA) also condemned the attack on journalists in Shopian.

 “This has become a routine that journalists while performing their professional duties are either thrashed or at time showered with pellets,” KVJA statement said. 

Kashmir Working Journalists Association (KWJA) also took strong note of the attack on photojournalists by government forces and expressed sympathies with the photojournalists, who have been injured in the line of duty and pray for their speedy recovery.

“We at KWJA believe the repeated attacks on media fraternity is an attempt to muzzle press freedom and to prevent journalists from performing their professional duties,” the KWJA said in a statement issued here.

Like in the rest of India, journalists in Kashmir are coming under unwarranted threats and scrutiny, from both state and non-state players, it said. “It is no surprise that India has dipped on the press freedom index, prompting global watchdog – RSF to issue an incident report on India.”

It would be in the national interest for the authorities in India, as well as J&K, to improve their record for press freedom, rather than resort to authoritative measures, that further malign their image.

KWJA seeks intervention from J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik and D G Police Dilbag Singh to put an end to the attacks on journalists.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said that the ‘indiscriminate use of force will always be counterproductive.’

Taking to Twitter, Omar termed the incident as ‘highly unfortunate’.

 “Highly unfortunate reports about journalists injured, including some with pellet injuries, while covering clashes in South Kashmir. I condemn this incident. The indiscriminate use of force, often without any accountability, will always be counterproductive,” Omar tweeted.

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