Press bodies in Kashmir today strongly condemned the police action in which journalists were allegedly roughed up and demanded that the state government act against officers, who they claimed, had abused authority. In a statement, the Kashmir Editors' Guild (KEG) said that media persons, who were on their way to cover a joint press conference called of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik at Hyderpora, were threatened and chased by the police. "While entire press corps that had assembled to cover the event were threatened and chased, at least two news photographers were beaten for no reason at all," the KEG statement said adding that there were clear photo and video evidences of the police assault. "KEG has taken a strong exception to the misuse of power for muzzling the media.
This has, unfortunately, been a routine than an exception," it said and sought intervention of the government "at the highest level".
The Kashmir Press Photographers Association (KPPA) too in statement demanded action against the erring police personnel and threatened to boycott all police events.
It 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.
(REOPENS DES57) Meanwhile, a police spokesman while reacting to the alleged assault on journalists said there was apprehension of breach of peace outside Geelani's residence at Hyderpora adding that the road leading to Airport hadgot blocked and police personnel present had to intervene to ensure smooth flow of traffic. "During this, some photo journalists who were trying to approach to the residence of Syed Ali Shah Geelani were requested not to proceed ahead as it would have escalated the situation. The photo journalists remained adamant and tried to proceed ahead without paying any heed to the request of the police," the spokesman said. Senior officers of the police department have taken cognizance of the matter which is being looked into, the spokesman added.