Three journalist from South Kashmir were allegedly roughed up by SSP Anantnag Sandip Chowdary in Srigugwara area of South Kashmir.The journalists alleged that without any rhyme or reason, SSP Anantnag thrashed them in full public glare and on his directions they were detained in police station. “One of the Journalists was hospitalized,” they said. The victim Journalists were Mudasir Qadri from News 18, Fayaz Lolu from ETv Bharat and Junaid Rafiq from TV 9. “When PAGD candidate Nisar Ahmed Mir asked us that he along with his supporters are not being allowed to exercise their franchise and why we don’t highlight the issue. We tried to take the version of SSP Anantnag Sandip Chowdary. Meanwhile, SSP Anantnag arrived on the spot. He alighted from his vehicle and without listening anything started beating us. He slapped us much to our embarrassment and threatened to frame us in some case,” they said.When contacted, SSP Anantnag didn’t say anything on phone and dropped the call.The action of SSP Sandip Chowdary was widely condemned. The media outlets with which these Journalists are affiliated demanded action against the SSP in question.Group Editor News 18 Urdu, Rajesh Raina tweeted while tagging LG, DGP, Rohit Kansal and Director Information and Public Relations: “Sandeep Choudhary slapped the journalist when he was doing his professional duty and also threatened him that he will frame him in some case. Is this expected from a senior police official?” he questioned and informed that DGP Dilbagh Singh has assured that he will look into the matter and take appropriate action.
Various Journalists took to twitter and condemned the action of Sandeep Chowdary. “Shameful-Action must follow,” wrote most of the Journalists.Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) expressed its serious concern over the use of force against three freelance reporters, contributing to three TV channels, while covering the DDC polls in Anantnag.Three TV freelancers Fayaz Lolu (ETV Bharat) Mudasir Qadri (News 18 Urdu) and Junaid Rafiq (TV 9) alleged that they were beaten in Srigufwara in presence of the SSP. They said their equipment was seized and they were taken to the local police post. “The Guild is surprised over the reason that the cops resorted to force when everything around was normal. The three TV reporters revealed that they had recorded a political activist’s compliant about the polling and were told by a duty officer that the SSP was on way and wanted to give his version.As the officer’s vehicle reached the spot, he avoided giving them a bite and instead started beating them. They said they were taken to the police station and their equipment was seized. During their stay in the station, one of them had a panic attack and was taken to hospital.”“By now, the equipment has been returned to them and they have been sent home.”“KEG is concerned over the recurrence of these incidents in which reporters are being subjected to violence while discharging their professional duties. Apparently, there is no reason for today’s incident to happen. Why should a reporter be beaten when the officer has the right to not respond to a question? KEG hopes the LG Manoj Joshi administration will look into the incident and ensure that this practice of abuse of authority is put to an end.”
Meanwhile, Kashmir Press Club condemned the assault on working Journalist in South Kashmir.A statement issued by KPC reads that: “Kashmir Press Club strongly condemns the thrashing of three freelance journalists who work as stringers for various news organizations, by the police in South Kashmir. The incident happened when these individuals were covering the ongoing DDC elections in the area this morning.”“In a distress call to the club Fayaz Lolu who works as a stringer with ETV Bharat stringer told the Kashmir Press Club management that he along with two other Journalists Mudasir Qadri (stringer with News 18 Urdu) and Junaid Rafiq (TV 9) were “beaten” today while covering the ongoing DDC elections in Srigufwara area of South Kashmir.” “He also said that their news gathering equipments were also seized by the police. Fayaz Lolu alleged that it was when the SSP of Anantnag arrived on the spot that they were beaten up ruthlessly and taken to the nearest police post. Fayaz further stated that Junaid has been injured and was in hospital.” “The Kashmir Press Club terms this incident unfortunate and calls for a thorough inquiry into the incident. We hope strict action against is taken against those found guilty in this act perpetrated in utter disregard of the freedom of the press. The KPC further urges the Chief Electoral Officer to take note of such incidents and initiate action against the concerned police official.”The KPC further urges that the authorities should ensure that an enabling atmosphere is created for the free and fair functioning of the media in Kashmir. (KNT)