Srinagar: Journalist bodies in Kashmir have condemned the police raids on Wednesday against four journalists – Hilal Mir, Shah Abbas, Azhar Qadri and Showkat Motta. The raids by police and paramilitary at the respective residences of these journalists reflect how the authorities in Jammu and Kashmir are targeting journalists, the journalist associations said in a joint statement.
“Shah, Mir and Motta have been covering Kashmir for over two decades while Qadri has been covering the region for over a decade. All of them have worked with reputed media organisations including national and international organisations and continue to do so,” the statement said.
“It is highly unfortunate that the police authorities carried out these raids at their residences early morning. According to the eye-witnesses, the forces laid, what appeared to them, a massive cordon in the localities of their respective residences. According to family members, mobile phones, laptops and other gadgets of the journalists and their family members have been seized,” it added.
“For the last few years the pressure on journalists in Kashmir has mounted to unprecedented levels with dozens of incidents of attacks, harassment and intimidation by authorities that our colleagues reported. Several journalists, especially for last two years, were summoned, questioned and even booked under controversial laws while many were even asked to reveal their sources.
“The cases of harassment against Kashmiri journalists are growing with each passing day and no words are enough to indicate the levels of strain the media is facing. The assault on freedom of press in Kashmir continues and it appears condemnations made in each case by media groups have fallen on deaf ears in absence of any respite,” the statement said.
The statement was issued jointly by the Journalist Federation of Kashmir (JFK), the Kashmir Working Journalists Association (KWJA), the Kashmir Press Photographers Association (KPPA), the Kashmir Press Club (KPC), the Kashmir Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ), the Kashmir Journalist Association (KJA), and the Kashmir Video Journalist Association (KVJA).