Photojournalists Thrashed by Forces Near Pampore

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KEG, KPC Condemns Use Of Force Against Scribes

Srinagar: A photojournalist was injured on Tuesday after he was allegedly beaten up by security forces near the site of an encounter in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir.

Kamran Yousuf claimed to have sustained leg injuries when he was thrashed by security forces while he was discharging his professional duties at Marwal in Pulwama where an encounter with militants was on.

While police did not deny the allegations levelled by the photojournalist, it said the mediapersons were stopped at they were moving close to the cordoned area.

“Today an exchange of fire took place at village Marwal between militants and SFs. Cordon was placed to prevent people from venturing inside as that would have endangered their security. However some media persons tried to move close who were duly stopped,” police said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, Kashmir Editors’ Guild (KEG) and Kashmir Press Club (KPC) on Tuesday condemned the use of force against the scribes who were covering the gun battle at Marwal Pampore.

At least one of them, Kamran Yousuf, was injured in the attack by the cops. Kamran works for a Delhi based news portal.

Kamran told reporters that he had gone to cover the encounter and well before he could start work, paramilitary men asked him to go away. As he was moving away from the spot, the security detail of a DySP rank police officer pounced upon him without any reason and beat him ruthlessly. He somehow fled and reached the hospital with the help of his colleagues where the doctors treated him. He will have to stay bed-ridden for many days owing to his leg injury.

Condemning the use of force against the media persons, the editors’ body asked the authorities to permit media in delivering their professional duties. KEG also demanded the police leadership in Kashmir to sensitise the field staff about the operations of the media and investigate the Marwal assault.

“Worth mentioning here the Marwal attack is not the first incident of its kind. In fact, it has emerged as a routine for the police and security forces to assault the journalists while covering the happenings on the ground,” the KEG said.

The Guild demanded the LG Jammu and Kashmir to personally look into the assault.

The Kashmir Press Club (KPC) also condemned the thrashing of three journalists by police near the encounter site in Pulwama district.

In a statement, KPC said the journalists were beaten by the police while they were covering an encounter between militants and state forces in Marwal Kakapora village in south Kashmir today morning.

“One multimedia journalist Kamran Yousuf received injuries due to the thrashing by the police and was rushed to SMHS Hospital in Srinagar for treatment,” the statement said.

“Kamran told the Press Club that he was at the encounter site along with a few more photojournalists today morning, when a group of Policemen caught hold of him and started beating him with lathis without any reason. He said that he somehow managed to run away. He has received injuries with doctors having detected fracture in his leg.” the statement added

KPC said that going by the account of Kamran, it is clear that the police has targeted the journalists to stop them from carrying out their professional work which is reprehensible.

“The Club wants to make it clear that this is not the first incident where journalists have been targeted by the forces and stopped from carrying out their professional work. In the past too many such incidents of harassment, thrashing and summons to media persons have been brought to the notice of the authorities at the highest level.”

The management of the Club while demanding strong action against the policemen involved in today’s incident urges the top brass of the J&K police and Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to take note of such difficulties media persons face while delivering their duties on the ground.

“The Club urges the authorities particularly the police to sensitise their ranks about respecting and upholding the press freedom in Kashmir.”

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