SRINAGAR: All prominent journalist bodies in Kashmir on Tuesday condemned the murderous attack on three photojournalists and a reporter by government forces in Shirmal area of Shopian.
Photojournalists Waseem Andrabi, Mir Burhan, Nisar ul Haq and Junaid Gulzar who had gone to south Kashmir’s Shopian to cover an encounter between government forces and militants when they were shot, from close range, by pellet shotguns. They have sustained injuries on face and neck from dozens of metal-ball pellets.
The Kashmir Working Journalists Association (KWJA), the Broadcast and Multimedia Journalist Association (BMJA), the Kashmir Press Club and the Kashmir Journalist Association (KJA) all condemned the attack and demanded punishment to the culprits.
KWJA members express sympathies with the photojournalists and prayed for their speedy recovery. “We at KWJA believe that the repeated attacks on the media fraternity are an attempt to muzzle press freedom and to prevent journalists from performing their professional duties,” it said in a statement.
The KWJA sought intervention of Governor Satya Pal Malik and DGP Dilbag Singh to put an end to attacks on journalists.
In a statement, BMJA General Secretary and Chief Spokesperson Irfan Quraishi said that the photojournalists were carrying out their professional duties and the attack on them was an attack on the fourth estate. Quraishi said it was very unfortunate that the forces showered media persons with pellets from close range.
The Kashmir Press Club said in a statement, “It has been reported that the journalists were performing their professional duties during the encounter and the protests in the area when the security forces fired pellets at them.”
The press club added, “It is not the first time such an incident has happened. (It is) most unfortunate that journalists are made a target when they are only performing their duties. It is appalling that pellets were fired at them.”
The Kashmir Press Club has asked authorities to investigate the incident.
A statement issued by the KJA said that journalists in Kashmir were being targeted on routine basis now and the absence of accountability has led to increased attacks on scribes performing their duty.