Indian authorities prevent Pulitzer-winning Kashmiri journalist from leaving

Sana Irshad Mattoo, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist from Indian-occupied Kashmir, was denied entry to France on Saturday by immigration officers at the New Delhi airport “for no apparent reason,” according to the Indian Express.

Mattoo announced in a tweet that she would be traveling from Delhi to Paris [on Saturday] for a book launch and photographic exhibition as one of ten Serendipity Arles grant 2020 prize winners.

“I wasn’t given a reason, but I was informed I couldn’t travel worldwide,” the journalist stated.

Despite having a French visa, Mattoo claims she was detained.

“This is crazy; I have nothing against you. One of the officers advised me to investigate the basis for the directives from Kashmir. I’m not sure why I was stopped, she said.

Mattoo told the newspaper that she was “disappointed” by the decision because she had been looking forward to the opportunity for some time.

The 28-year-old Srinagar resident is a photojournalist for the international wire service Reuters. Mattoo and three other Reuters photographers won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in feature photography for their coverage of Covid-19’s second wave in India.

The action against Mattoo follows recent crackdowns on Indian journalists criticizing the Modi regime.

In January, Indian officials arrested Sajad Gul, an independent journalist and media student in IoK, and in February, they arrested Fahad Shah, the editor of the Kashmir Walla news platform.