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Journalists assaulted by police in Kashmir

(IFJ/IFEX) - November 28, 2011 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins partner organisations in the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) in expressing serious concern at the attacks on news photographers reporting on street protests in Srinagar, capital of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, on November 25.

Reports from Srinagar indicate four journalists were assaulted and one of them briefly detained by personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) while covering protests that broke out in Srinagar's Old City after Friday prayers. Umar Mehraj, a video journalist for the Associated Press, Showkat Shafi, a contributor to Al Jazeera English online, and Yawar Kabli, of Getty Images and Kashmir Dispatch, were assaulted and their equipment was partly damaged. Shahid Tantray, who works with the widely circulated Hindi-language daily Dainik Bhaskar, suffered a serious injury and was briefly detained.

"The IFJ notes that two photojournalists were attacked by security forces in virtually identical circumstances just three months ago," IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

"These recurrent incidents show that the visual coverage of protests and demonstrations in Kashmir often triggers serious anxieties among the security forces, leading them to deal violently with journalists.

"Authorities in Kashmir must act quickly and firmly against the personnel involved in the latest assault."

The IFJ urges authorities to develop a protocol in consultation with journalists in Kashmir to ensure that the coverage of events and incidents of public importance is possible without serious threat or impediment.

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