Srinagar:Kashmir Journalist Association (KJA) has expressed serious concern over the curbs on the movement of journalists in Kashmir by the Jammu and Kashmir police and the state government.
In a statement, a spokesperson of the association said that the two recent instances; curbing entry of journalists in polling stations; barring journalists from covering the funeral of slain Hizb militant Mannan Wani “explicitly demonstrate the government’s clampdown on media in the Valley”.
The spokesperson said that during the ongoing civic elections, journalists were stopped by government forces at several places from entering polling stations despite carrying valid election duty cards issued by Chief Electoral Officer.
“Another shocking incident took place in north Kashmir’s Lolab village where media persons, who were heading to cover the funeral of Mannan Wani on October 11 were held hostage for several hours. This was aimed at not allowing journalists from covering that day’s newsworthy event. Reporters on the spot contacted almost all the top police officers for intervention but all of them dodged their requests.”
In Anantnag, the spokesperson said, three journalists Fayaz Lolu, Deen Imran and Junaid Rafiq had to face the wrath of CRPF and police at Ashajipora when they were stopped by the forces from performing their professional duties and ruthlessly beaten. “Their cameras and other equipment have also been damaged while the case is yet to be registered.”
All these incidents expose the muddled behavior of the security establishment including the J&K police, the spokesperson said.
“KJA feels that stopping journalists from doing their professional duties is a criminal act and it reflects that the set constitutional and democratic values are not respected in the state.
“The journalist body said the democratic institutions form the bedrock of any society and its institutional arms but under such situation these may become vile.
“KJA appealed the Governor Satya Pal Malik and top police and civil administration to stop muzzling of press, which is the fourth estate of democracy and acts as a mirror for any civilized society.”