Kashmiri journalists covering clashes near a gunfight site in Pulwama on Friday were assaulted by the security forces. In a video being shared on Twitter, a police constable is seen kicking local photojournalist Qisar Mir.
Syed Shahriyar, another photojournalist who was on the scene, and made the video, told Newslaundry they had gone to cover the gunfight like they usually do, only to be assaulted by the security forces when they started recording their clashes with local residents.
“The police screamed at us. One of the policemen came and kicked Qisar Mir. There was also a CRPF guy holding a pellet gun. You can see in the video how he is pointing it towards the journalist,” said Shahriyar, who shared the video on Twitter with the caption “Everyday story of a journalist in Kashmir” and the hashtag “Journalism Is Not A Crime”.
The journalists stopped recording the clashes after this. Mir did not sustain any injuries in the assault.
Journalists being harassed and even assaulted by the security forces while doing their job is in Kashmir. “Things like these keep happening,” said Shahriyar, who has been a journalist since 2011. “It’s normal now.”
The Pulwama gunfight led to the killing of three militants. The police two of them had been involved in the attack on a BJP leader’s house earlier this week. At least 10 civilians were injured in the clashes between the forces and local residents near the gunfight site, Hindustan Times
“As journalists, we always go and cover such incidents,” said Shahriyar. He said he had reached the gunfight site just as the forces were withdrawing.
“The forces were leaving but a huge number of people were arriving at the site, so we had to pull back as clashes were about to happen,” he said. “We were pulling back when the clashes started, so we started covering that.”