The International Federation of
Journalists expresses serious concern after two photojournalists were attacked
by security forces in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir on August 19. Both the
journalists suffered serious injuries and a reporter seeking information from
the police on what transpired was in turn threatened with dire consequences by
Mexican photojournalist Narciso
Contreras, working with the U.S.-based press agency Zuma, was detained in the
Nowhatta area of Srinagar
city, summer capital of the state on August 19. He was allegedly chased from
the scene of a confrontation between political demonstrators and security
forces and roughly taken away from a private home where he had sought shelter.
He was taken to a police station and brutally beaten and reportedly threatened
not to publish the photographs he had taken. He has also reported losing a
large sum of money in the process of his arrest and torture.
Showkat Shafi, a local freelance
photographer who often contributes to international news agencies was detained
while covering the same demonstration. He too was taken to the local police
station and beaten.
Both journalists were released after
being held for an estimated five hours. They have since been admitted to a
hospital in Srinagar
city and are undergoing treatment for severe injuries.
Later that day, Wasim Khalid, a
reporter with one of the largest-selling English-language newspapers in the
state, Greater Kashmir, was threatened with “unimaginable” consequences
if he sought to pursue the story of the photojournalists’ arrest and beating.
“We join our colleagues in Kashmir in calling upon local authorities to investigate
this latest atrocity on the practice of journalism in the state,” IFJ Asia-Pacific said.
“The testimony of the two
journalists who were attacked has to be taken and action initiated immediately
against the policemen responsible.
“The IFJ has expressed concerns
several times in the last three years over the hazards that journalists face in
Kashmir. A clear signal has to be given from
the highest level of the political leadership in the state, that this manner of
attack on journalists performing their duties will not be tolerated.”
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
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