The Committee to Protect Journalists has called for Indian authorities to allow Kashmiri photojournalist Sanna Irshad Mattoo to travel abroad.
Mattoo said she was stopped by immigration authorities at Delhi airport and barred from travelling to the United States on Tuesday. The photojournalist was on her way to New York to collect her Pulitzer Prize, which she had won in May for her coverage of the Covid pandemic for Reuters.
Mattoo tweeted that she was barred from travelling despite holding a valid visa to the US. According to CPJ, officials did not give Mattoo a reason for being stopped.
“This is the second time I have been stopped without reason or cause...Being able to attend the award ceremony was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me,” Mattoo said.
CPJ’s Asia program coordinator in Germany, Beh Lih Yi, said, “There is no reason why Kashmiri journalist Sanna Irshad Mattoo, who had all the right travel documents and has won a Pulitzer – one of the most prestigious journalism awards – should have been prevented from travelling abroad. This decision is arbitrary and excessive. Indian authorities must immediately cease all forms of harassment and intimidation against journalists covering the situation in Kashmir.”
Notably, this is not the first time that Mattoo has been barred from travelling abroad. In July, she was stopped from flying to France, where she was scheduled to attend events as one of 10 winners of the Serendipity Arles Grant.