International media watchdog, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has denounced the Indian authorities for stopping Kashmiri photojournalist Sanna Irshad Mattoo at Delhi airport and preventing her from traveling to New York to receive her Pulitzer Prize.
The New York-based CJP in a statement posted on its website terming the Indian authorities’ action as “arbitrary and excessive” called for ending the persecution of journalists covering the situation in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
As per media reports, immigration officials at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on Monday evening, stopped Sanna Mattoo, who was flying to New York to receive the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in a ceremony scheduled for Thursday.
The Srinagar-based a freelance photojournalist, Sanna Mattoo, was part of a Reuters team that won the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography for their coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic in India.
The Kashmiri photojournalist in a tweet said that the officials declined to give her any reason for being barred from leaving India, despite holding a valid passport and US visa. She said that attending the award ceremony is “a once in a lifetime opportunity” for her.
CPJ’s Asia programme coordinator, Beh Lih Yi, in a statement in Frankfurt, Germany, said there is no reason why 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 internationally.
She maintained that this decision is arbitrary and excessive. Indian authorities must immediately cease all forms of harassment and intimidation against journalists covering the situation in Kashmir, she added.
Sanna Mattoo in her tweet said that she was also prevented at the same airport from travelling to Paris in July, this year, without being given any reason.
After the repeal of special status of IIOJK by Narendra Modi-led fascist Indian government on August 05, 2019, Kashmiri journalists are being barred from international travel.—KMS