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Three journalists ‘thrashed by cops in Anantnag’

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KEG, KPC, political parties demand action against involved cops

Srinagar: Three journalists were allegedly thrashed by police personnel while they were covering the District Development Council (DDC) polls in Anantnag district of south Kashmir on Thursday.

Fayaz Lolu (ETV Bharat), Mudasir Qadri (News 18 Urdu) and Junaid Rafiq (TV 9) also claimed that their equipment was seized by the policemen who took them to a police post after physically assaulting them in Srigufwara in presence of the SSP.

While the Kashmir Editors’ Guild (KEG) has expressed concern over it, Kashmir Press Club (KPC) termed the incident at Srigufwara in Anantnag district as “unfortunate” and called for a thorough inquiry.

Police officials refused to comment on the incident.

KEG said it 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,” the KEG statement said.

KEG said it 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 Sinha administration will look into the incident and ensure that this practice of abuse of authority is put to an end,” KEG said.

The KPC termed the incident as unfortunate and called 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 also urged 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,” KPC said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti took to Twitter to condemn the incident.

“Three journalists thrashed by security forces in South Kashmir today after interviewing a PAGD candidate who wasn’t allowed to cast his vote. Everything & anything that involves stating the truth is being criminalised in J&K,” she said.

National Conference also condemned the incident saying it is “another glaring example showcasing sheer disregard and revulsion of certain elements against journalistic fraternity, who, notwithstanding all sorts of hitches, are executing their job in a commendable manner in Jammu and Kashmir.”

In a statement NC said incidents like these should not go unaccounted for. “Government is duty-bound to ensure an enabling environment for the free and fair functioning of the press.  NC condemns the incident unequivocally and hopes that strict action is taken against the erring cops behind the act. The State Election Commissioner should also take notice of such an appalling incident that has raised a question mark on the impartiality of the ongoing elections.”

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