Duty Officer tried to suffocate Mustafa, says KPPA
Srinagar: The attack on photojournalists on Thursday near the residence of Resistance leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani was condemned by all ideologies including mainstream politicians.
On Thursday, scribes who were performing their professional duties while covering a joint presser by the United Hurriyat leadership were assaulted by the police. In a video, which went viral on social media, the duty officer can be seen ‘choking’ senior photojournalist Tauseef Mustafa who works for the AFP.
Other journalists who were manhandled were Mubashshir Khan of the Greater Kashmir, Farooq Javed Khan of EPA and Shoaib Masoodi of The Indian Express.
Police in its official statement said that there was ‘breach of peace’ and in order to ensure smooth traffic movement, the cops had to intervene.
The Kashmir Press Photographers Association (KPPA) in a statement said that the particular officer attempted to suffocate Mustafa.
“The DO (Duty Officer) Police Station Humhama assaulted Mustafa and caught hold of his throat and attempted to suffocate him. There is clear photo and video evidence offering a clear detail of the police assault, “KPPA statement read.
Later, the journalists staged a protest against the highhandedness of police and demanded action against the official involved. They also said that if the authorities fail to take any action, the journalist community is going to boycott all police events.
“If no action is taken against the DO Humhama, not only the photojournalists but the entire journalist community will participate in a protest march against the police brutality and stop covering all the events of J&K Police, “KPPA statement maintained.
However, Senior Superintendent of Police, Budgam Waseem Qadri said that no assault took place. The police ‘pushed’ them back as restrictions were in order.
“You might have seen the video in which the media persons were trying to enter in the area where restrictions have been imposed. The police officials were asking the media persons to move back however they didn’t pay any heed thereby the officials tried to push them back,” he said.
“We will stop covering all events of JK Police if the particular officer is not punished”
Official Version of the Police
Today (Thursday) there was apprehension of breach of peace outside the residence of Syed Ali Shah Geelani at Hyderpora during which the road leading to Airport got blocked and Police present had to intervene to ensure smooth flow of traffic.
During this, some Photo journalists who were trying to approach the residence of Syed Ali Shah Geelani were requested not to proceed ahead as it would have escalated the situation. The Photo journalists remained adamant and tried to proceed ahead without giving any heed to the request of the Police.
They later protested alleging high handedness of Police and demanded action.
The higher officers of the Police Department have taken cognizance of the matter which is being looked into.
Clear signs that Indian democracy is a sham: JKLF
The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) said that attacking media preventing leaders from holding a simple meet proves that Indian democracy is a sham. While strongly condemning the assault on media and the arrest of resistance leaders, JKLF in a statement said that such events prove that what India and its stooges in Kashmir are practicing is ‘undemocratic, unethical and a glaring example of a sham democracy.’
“The arrest of three leaders and stopping their press conference is undemocratic, unethical and glaring example of sham democracy practiced by India and its stooges in Jammu Kashmir.How can people who use police force to stop simple meetings between people, gag press and even their movements call themselves democratic and champions of peace and progress, “JKLF spokesman said in a statement while strongly condemning the arrest of Chairman JKLF Yasin Malik, Chairman APHC (G) Syed Ali Shah Geelani and APHC (M) Mirwaiz Muhammad Umar Farooq.
The spokesman added that the arrest of resistance leaders and attck on media shows the height of frustration the so-called rulers and their police suffer from.
“Shameless rulers and their police took ailing Syed Ali shah Geelani, Muhammad Yasin Malik and Mirwaiz Muhammad Umer Farooq into illegal custody and even attacked and injured media person including senior photo journalist Tawseef Mustafa, GK photojournalist Mubashir Khan and others. This shows the height of frustration so-called rulers and their police are suffering from, “ said the spokesman.
The spokesman further added that such oppressive measures don’t take place in a democracy and amount to state sponsored violence.
“Choking space of peaceful political activities, barring people from meeting one another, suppressing people’s voices by arrests, nocturnal raids, use of black laws and other oppressive measures is no democracy but unilateral state sponsored violence. This is also like conceding defeat much before the contest, “spokesman said in the statement.
Attack worst form of state sponsored terrorism: Hurriyat (M)
Mirwaiz lead Hurriyat (M) called the attack on journalists as the worst form of state sponsored terrorism and added that Jammu and Kashmir has been converted into a police state.
“The mishandling of journalists is undermining the fourth pillar of democracy. The freedom of speech and expression was under direct attack from the state. This incident shows how difficult it is for the journalists to carry out their professional duty on the ground, “said their spokesman in a statement.
The statement also pointed out that if this is how the state deals with journalists, one can imagine what common people would be going through on a daily basis.
The statement also pointed out that the incident exposed India’s tall claims of being a democratic country.
“The government is using arm twisting tactics to pressurize journalists so that the truth does not come out before the world. Manhandling of journalists is a violation of the democratic norms and human values and it exposes the tall claims of democracy and the freedom of speech of the rulers.”
Hurriyat (M) hailed scribes for highlighting the Kashmir issue globally despite facing such intimidation from the state government.
Incident in violation of democratic norms: Tarigami
MLA Kulgam Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami while condemning the incident said that the police action against journalists is a violation of democratic norms.
Tarigami, who is also the State Secretary of the CPI (M) appealed to the authorities that such incidents should not be repeated. “Such action against the media persons must be stopped as performing the professional duties is not any crime. The media persons must be given free atmosphere to perform their professional duties,” he said.
Former Agriculture Minister and President of the Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Party Nationalist (JKDPN) also termed the police action as undemocratic and urged to poloice to restrain themselves from indulging in such actions.
“Media persons who were performing their professional duties should not have been assaulted. The unnecessary action against the media persons is not good and the police officials must restrain themselves from carrying out such actions,” said Mir.
With inputs from KNS