SRINAGAR: Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir is one of the most dangerous places of the world where people associated with the press and media are performing their professional duties in the most difficult circumstances.
According to a report compiled by Kashmir Media Service on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day, observed on Wednesday, 20 journalists have been confirmed killed while performing their duties during the Kashmiris’ ongoing liberation struggle since 1989. They include Shabbir Ahmed Dar, Mushtaq Ali, Muhammad Shabaan Wakeel, a woman scribe Aasiya Jeelani, Ghulam Muhammad Lone, Ghulam Rasool Azad, Pervez Muhammad Sultan, Shujaat Bukhari, Ali Muhammad Mahajan, Syed Ghulam Nabi, Altaf Ahmed Fakhtoo, Saidan Shafi, Tariq Ahmed, Abdul Majid Butt, Javed Ahmed Mir, PN Handoo, Muhammad Shafi, Pradeeep Bhatia, Ashok Sodhi and Rayees Ahmad Butt.
The report pointed out that the journalists face manhandling, abductions, murder attempts, harassment, detentions, summoning to police station and death threats by Indian Army, police and other agencies almost routinely in the territory. It said that in the occupied territory, almost routinely, the journalists face manhandling, abductions, murder attempts and death threats by the Indian troops and all this has made their everyday work extremely difficult. It revealed that the Kashmiri journalists and many other scribes while performing their professional duties are roughed up, injured and detained by the troops on fake charges in the territory.
Indian police and sleuths of National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested photojournalists, Kamran Yousuf, on 04 March 2017, Aqib Javeed on 02 July 2019, Khalid Gul on 06 December, 2022, and Manan Gulzar Dar on 10 October, 2021, for highlighting the brutalities of the Indian troops during the pro-freedom demonstrations in the territory. They were later released after long detentions. Another journalist Qazi Shibli was booked under black law, Public Safety Act (PSA) on 08 August 2019 and was released on 23 April 2020. Other journalists including Aasif Sultan, Fahad Shah, Sajjad Gul, Sartaj Altaf Butt and Irfan Meraaj are still facing illegal detentions in different jails of India and IIOJK.
The journalists were also not allowed by the authorities to perform their professional duties to write ground situation, news and reports on Indian forces’ cordon and search operation in the occupied territory.
A freelance French journalist, Comiti Paul Edward, was arrested by the Indian police when he was video-graphing the pellet victims in Srinagar city on International Human Rights Day (December 10) in 2017. Comiti Paul Edward later in an interview said that the Kashmiris were facing the worst kind of military repression and human rights violations at the hands of Indian troops and India did not want these happenings in Kashmir to be known internationally. In his documentary released in 2018, Paul Comiti exposed the killing of Kashmiris by Indian forces.
Annie Gowan, Bureau chief of The Washington Post for India, was restricted by the authorities in a house in Srinagar on 31st July 2018 and was not permitted to move about in the territory for reporting.