A police officer threatened to shoot a well-known Kashmiri photojournlist in the Valley, during a clash with journalists outside separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani’s residence, reported Hindustan Times.
Tauseef Mustafa, a photographer with Agence France-Presse was at Geelani’s residence along with other journalists, to cover a press conference. Several separatist leaders – including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik – were expected to be present at the meeting, and the police had reportedly arrived there to arrest them.
The officer in question accosted Mustafa and his colleagues and reportedly caught him by the throat.
Mustafa to Hindustan TimesOne of the officers caught me by the neck and starting choking me. He said he was from the SOG (special operations group), and threatened to shoot me.
The Kashmir Press Photographer Association (KPPA) gathered to protest the police aggression at Srinagar’s Press Enclave. They held up photographs of the officer grabbing Mustafa by the throat.
KPPA also said that that if action was not taken, the entire journalist community would participate in a protest march against the police brutality on Saturday and stop covering all the events of J&K Police.
In a statement, Kashmir Editor’s Guild (KEG) said:
KEG has taken a strong exception to the misuse of power for muzzling the media. This has, unfortunately, been a routine than an exception.
The Jammu and Kashmir director general of police, SP Vaid, said the policemen in the state are in the “need to be counselled”.
The police department later released a statement saying that the incident took place only because the journalists were advancing towards Geelani’s residence, though they were explicitly asked not to.
The police expected a “breach of peace” outside the separatist leader’s home, the release added.
(With inputs from PTI)