Scores of mediapersons were on Tuesday thrashed by Jammu and Kashmir policemen when they were performing their professional duties at Jehangir Chowk in Srinagar.
Waseem Andrabi, a photojournalist, working with Hindustan Times, said that the mediapersons were covering the Muharram procession at Jahangir Chowk when police assaulted them.
However, he said that the policemen from Shergari Police Station led by Station House Officer (SHO) Aftab Ahmad, beat them to the pulp for no reason. “We were even told that FIR will be registered against us,” he said.
Andrabi said that he along with scores of mediapersons were thrashed while covering the Muharram procession, which was foiled by the authorities. “We were performing our professional duties, which is not a crime,” he said.
Another photojournalist, Sajad Hamid alleged that police broke his camera and abused him while he was covering the Muharram procession in Srinagar.
“My father had gifted me this camera. I cannot afford a second camera and now appeal to the authorities to compensate me,” Sajad said.
The Kashmir Press Photographers Association in a statement condemned the use of force by police on the photojournalists while they were dispatching their professional duties covering the Ashoora procession.
The KPPA termed the action unjustified and uncalled.
Meanwhile, former chief ministers including Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti also reacted to the thrashing of media persons.
“Very unfortunate to see J&K police personnel mercilessly thrashing journalists in Srinagar. These people were simply doing their jobs – reporting the news. They don’t make the news & they don’t engineer events to create the story. I hope @OfficeOfLGJandK will ensure no repeat,” Omar tweeted.
Reacting to Sajad Hamid, Omar said that the administration owes it to him to compensate him for the loss.
“He’s an independent photo-journalist. His camera is his livelihood. The administration owes it to Sajad to compensate him for the loss he has suffered while working,” Omar tweeted.
“Media is spending hours debating the human tragedy & unfolding crisis in Afghanistan but will they speak up for their own community in Kashmir who were beaten to pulp today by security forces for doing their job?,” Mehbooba tweeted.