ISLAMABAD, Sep 3 (APP):As the crippling lockdown and curfew in Indian Occupied Jammu Kashmir (IoJK) nears a month, journalists working for various news channels, papers and other communication modes were complaining of harassment by Indian occupation forces, who force them to report ‘normalcy’, says a detailed featured story aired on AlJazeera Television.
“This is a unique situation. None of us had seen anything like this in the past. Even in the worst of times in Kashmir, we were able to file our stories,” said Muzaffar Raina, working for telegraphindia.com.
Since the night of August 4, the region’s seven million residents have been placed under a curfew and denied telephone and internet access. Raina says the situation is “unprecedented”.
Raina said the curbs are in place “to prevent the truth from going out”.
Peerzada Ashiq, who reports for The Hindu newspaper, also told Aljazeera that he could not send his report or contact his office for the first few days, until he mailed his story in a flash drive to New Delhi.
Ashiq said reporters are being stopped despite having a “movement pass” issued by the authorities.
“They (paramilitary soldiers) told me that they have been ordered not to allow anyone. “Even with a pass, you are not sure if the next security picket would let you through,” he said adding that many journalists complained of being harassed by the occupation forces patrolling the streets.
S. Ahmad, who works as a videographer for an international TV channel, told AlJazeera that he was forced to delete footage from his camera by an security officers after he recorded a protest in Srinagar.
“I was made to delete my footage at least three times. You give them a proof of the organisation you work for, but the forces don’t listen,” he said.
Ahmad said a paramilitary trooper told him to film “the normalcy” and not the protests. “They are dictating how we should work,” he added.
A journalist from south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, told the channel that he had not filed any story since August 4, the day the latest clampdown started.
According to a report by a media advocacy group, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a local news editor in occupied Kashmir said journalists were having difficulty in moving around and had also been restricted from shooting videos and taking photographs.
The Committee called on the Indian government to immediately stop its harassment of journalists in occupied Kashmir and allow them to work freely. Administration in occupied Kashmir had detained journalists after August 5.
“Severing all communications links is an astounding violation of press freedom,” said CPJ Senior Asia Research Associate Aliya Iftikhar, in New York, demanding India to respect its constitution and democracy, and uphold the essential value of press freedom in Kashmir.