Srinagar: Many journalists were thrashed mercilessly and intimidated by government forces near encounter site here in Kashmir capital Srinagar this Tuesday morning.
Journalists alleged that a top police officer started all this and after watching him doing so, other forces personnel got encouraged who roughed up reporters and photojournalists on the spot.
Two militants, a civilian and an SOG man were killed in a gunfight this morning in Fateh Kadal area of Srinagar city.
“We were performing our professional duties when forces personnel started hurling abuses on us. He along with other forces personnel manhandled us while forces personnel even fired pellets to scare us,” said a journalist.
While talking to news agency CNS, senior journalist Manzoor Mir from India TV said that an SOG man pushed a senior video journalist Arshid Hussain back to wall and when they objected, all of a sudden the men in uniform went berserk and started thrashing journalists.
“The irony was that a senior officer tried to choke the neck of a photojournalist. Forces personnel fired some rounds in air to threaten and scare us. I suffered fracture in my arm and wounds in leg,” he said and added that video journalist Arshid Hussain was the main victim.
ABP Head for Kashmir Valley, Asif Qureshi said, “Everything was normal and in fact we were seeking details from a top police officer about the encounter when suddenly a man in uniform hit video journalist Arshid Hussain.”
“The unfortunate part is that everything happened right in front of the top police brass who tried to intervene but in vain. We moved towards Fateh Kadal area where we tried to shoot a thrashing incident. The police party led by an officer turned their attention towards us and started beating us. They fired several shots in air and the cartridges even touched my ear. I was saved by some men from Fire and Emergency Service Department,” Asif Qureshi said.
Another journalist who wished not to be named said that it was hell like situation for them. “The motive of forces was to stop us from performing our professional duties. We were treated like cattle though we confronted them. There was no incident of stone-pelting at that moment and yet they attacked us,” he said.
The journalist bodies demanded action against the forces personnel involved in these incidents.
Kashmir Press Club (KPC) issued a statement in this regard and condemned the thrashing of journalists at the encounter site in Srinagar by the police.
“Many reporters and photo-journalists were beaten up while they were delivering their professional duties this morning. One of the injured journalists is also a member of the executive team of KPC. It is also being reported that the thrashing took place right in front of senior police officers,” the statement reads.
“The KPC has expressed shock over this behaviour by the forces. It hopes that the state administration will take a note of this and act.”
Kashmir National Television Journalists Association also condemned the forces action saying that the Association stands with journalist fraternity. The Association has demanded action against the accused.
Kashmir Editors’ Guild (KEG) and Kashmir Journalist Association (KJA) has also condemned the forces action and demanded strong action against the involved. (CNS)