Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned to hear of an assault on
journalists by police and other security personnel in the Arampora area of the
north Kashmir town of Sopore
on December 7.
According to local sources, six journalists, part of a large
group that had gone to the area to report on local perceptions of the ongoing
election campaign in the state of Jammu
and Kashmir, were injured in the attack.
The injuries suffered by Mukhtar Khan, of the Associated
Press, and Tauseef Mustafa, of Agence France Presse, are reported to be
Syed Muzaffar (Srinagar Times), Habib Naqash (Greater
Kashmir), Bilal Bazaz (Imarat), Mohammad Afzal (Associated News of
India) and Fayaz Kabli (Reuters) were also injured.
According to witnesses, the journalists were covering a
street demonstration involving several local residents, mostly young people,
who had come out in support of a campaign to boycott the state-wide elections.
Personnel of the Jammu
and Kashmir police and the Central Reserve Police
Force (CRPF) caned the demonstrators and fired numerous teargas canisters.
The IFJ is informed that a senior police official instructed
his men to beat the journalists covering the demonstration, supposedly as a
means of dispersing the protesters.
After the incident the troops and police enforced strict
restrictions over the movement of media personnel covering the polls.
In the old part of Baramulla, also in north Kashmir, a team of journalists from the Etalaat newspapers
was threatened by a senior police official, who blamed the media for provoking
The police also reportedly refused to honour the letter of
authority issued by the Election Commission of India, which allows media personnel
to enter polling stations.
The IFJ understands that the journalists of Kashmir have lodged a formal complaint with the police in
Sopore and that the principal official of the Election Commission in the state
has promised to conduct an investigation.
“The IFJ urges the authorities to conclude their
investigations at the earliest and institute appropriate sanctions against the
officials responsible for these most recent attacks on media freedom,” IFJ Asia-Pacific said.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
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