The Muharram procession underway. | Photo: Azaan Javaid | ThePrint
The Muharram procession underway. | Photo: Azaan Javaid | ThePrint
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Srinagar: A Kashmiri photojournalist was hit by pellets and three other scribes were injured when personnel of Jammu and Kashmir Police allegedly attacked them as they covered a Muharram procession in Srinagar’s Hasanabad area Saturday.

The journalists told ThePrint that police used batons to disperse them and chased after them when they attempted to leave the area. They were caught and beaten with lathis, they added.

The camera of a fifth journalist was allegedly broken by J&K Police personnel in their efforts to stop the coverage of the procession.

 

The incident took place around 2 pm at the Hasanabad locality of Rainawari area, which has a predominantly Shia population. The photojournalists were in the locality to cover a religious procession on the seventh day of the Islamic month of Muharram.

The religious procession underway. | Photo: Azaan Javaid | ThePrint
The religious procession underway. | Photo: Azaan Javaid | ThePrint

Shia Muslims commemorate the tragedy of Karbala during the first 10 days of Muharram, where they believe the grandson of Prophet Muhammad was killed along with his companions and family members.

Across the world, Shia mourners take out processions to commemorate Karbala. But such processions have been officially banned in Kashmir since the eruption of the 1989 insurgency.

Each year, Kashmir’s Shia mourners attempt to take out processions in the Valley but it invariably ends in clashes and detentions.

According to the photojournalists, station house officer Rashid Khan ordered his men to beat up the reporters. When the photojournalists tried to flee, they added, police resorted to pellet-firing, which resulted in injury to one of the local scribes.

“I was hit by three pellets, one in the head, one in the shoulder and one in the leg. A local person helped me take them out of my body,” said the injured freelance photojournalist, who wished to remain anonymous.

An injured journalist shows the pellet marks and injuries he sustained. | Photo: Azaan Javaid | ThePrint
An injured journalist shows the pellet marks and injuries he sustained. | Photo: Azaan Javaid | ThePrint

The three journalists who were allegedly beaten up were Shahid Khan, Mubashir Dar and Bilal Bhat.

“They came and started to yell at me that I shouldn’t cover the procession. Even before I could respond to them, they started beating me. I had to run away,” said Shahid Khan, while showing the injuries he received on his back.

Another photojournalist said the CRPF personnel posted alongside J&K Police tried to intervene and asked them not to hit the scribes. “But they didn’t listen. They just kept hitting the photojournalists till all of us had to flee. I was seeing this from a short distance and managed to run away before police could catch hold of me,” the photojournalist added.

Yasrab Khan, a journalist with the local news channel ANN News said his camera was broken by a policeman chasing him. The area was sealed soon afterwards, making it impossible for journalists to reach local police for a comment.

A journalist's camera was allegedly broken by J&K security personnel. | Photo: Azaan Javaid | ThePrint
A journalist’s camera was allegedly broken by J&K security personnel. | Photo: Azaan Javaid | ThePrint

This report will be updated as and when ThePrint secures a response from police.

Muharram restrictions in Srinagar

The state administration has issued directions that no processions will be allowed in Srinagar on 8, 9 and 10 September, and the government is likely to impose strict restrictions from Sunday in view of Muharram.

A senior government official said Saturday that maintaining peace during the last days of Muharram was a top priority for the security forces here.

ThePrint has approached the Srinagar senior superintendent of police (SSP) for comment. The report will be updated when a response is received.


Also read: Home ministry says no ban on foreign journalists in Assam, but they need permit


 

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8 Comments Share Your Views

8 COMMENTS

  1. India is a democracy and by definition can not oppress religious minority nor ban their religion practices. I am beginning to think India is a racist country and only claims to be a democracy when it’s in its interest. I don’t believe in any religion but I would never beat up the people who are.

  2. Playing out in force in the global media. 80% of the coverage is critical, with NYT and WP between them generating 65 articles. Sobering column by Ms Suhasini Haider. The diplomatic corps is all hands on deck to counter this burst of negativity. UNHRC in Geneva, the European Parliament, US House of Representatives, then the UNGA. Perhaps our diplomats, instead of firefighting, should be tendering good advice in advance, voicing their concerns and caution. Their Minister is one of them.

  3. What is wrong with the CPRF? Are they allowed to beat ppl this mercilessly? They call militants terrorists but the real terrorists are CPRF and Police force! What kind of a law is practised in India? I feel so sorry for the journalists! But u guys are so brave! Ur doing a great job! Thank you for all your efforts!

    • Law was laid down that there will be no procession that day. If you go against it, then you’re asking for it. Question is why are the CRPF playing tickling games? Bring in the tanks! You can’t talk sense to rabid dogs that are filled with fear and hatred. They don’t know what’s good for them. You try to heal them, they’ll bite your head off.

  4. Does any defence person complain when he is injured or his family when he dies? So what this photo journalist expected? to be showered with rose petals. He wanted to be recognized as extraordinary so he took the risk and got his reward. Why crib ?

    • What the hell is wrong with u? Don’t u have any thing about compassion, empathy or even sympathy? I guess indians don’t know what humanity means! Shame on u. If ur loved one was in the journalists position I’m sure u would be uttering the same venom as u are doing now! Shame on u and ur mentality!!!

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