Police chased and assaulted a group of journalists with batons in full public glare to prevent them from covering the Muharram procession in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir’s capital city of Srinagar on Tuesday.
The police action resulted in injuries and damage to equipment of journalists who were carrying out their professional duties.
A photojournalist Sajad Hameed who was at the spot covering the Muharram procession received a few baton thrashing on his legs and his camera was broken too.
“It resulted in damage worth over Rs 20,000,” Sajad Hameed said.
The journalists were spread in groups capturing the procession from various angles when they were beaten, he added.
The attack came when a police officer named ‘Aftab Ahmad’ abused and pushed some photojournalists who were capturing police lathi charge on Shia mourners, he said.
“Police officer Aftab Ahmad abused another journalist. We asked him not to do so. In response he attacked us, charged on us, in which many were minorly injured,” Sajad added.
Sajad said that the police officer Aftab Ahmad also pushed photojournalist of Hindustan Times Wasim Andrabi for nothing.
“It was when another police officer joined in and asked them [Police officer Aftab Ahmad] not to beat us that the beating stopped,” he added.
Wasim Andrabi of Hindustan Times told KNO that the policemen “from Shergarhi Police Station led by SHO Aftab Ahmad, beat them to the pulp for no reasons”.
“We were even told that (an) FIR will be registered against us,” Wasim added.
Another photojournalist, Faisal Khan, who was present at the scene said, “We were Covering the protest. When I saw a policeman attacking a fellow journalist l, I rushed to the spot to check what was happening. In between, there was a lathi charge. We moved to a secure place.”
“The cop did not listen to us for a moment and we found wisdom in escape” he added.
In the past police have said that police will act professionally while handling journalists on the ground and will make efforts to prevent the attacks.
Senior Superintendent of Police Srinagar Sandeep Choudhary was not available for the comments when reached by Kashmir Reader.