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Scribes allege thrashing by police in south Kashmir

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Srinagar: Two journalists, Umer Rashid and Junaid Gulzar, have alleged that they were beaten up by government forces manning a checkpoint in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Tuesday evening.

Mr. Rashid said that the duo, both residents of the Shopian district, were returning from Srinagar.

Speaking to The Kashmir Walla, Mr. Rashid who works with the Srinagar based newswire Global News Service said that he along with Mr. Gulzar, who works with the Kashmir Essence newspaper, were passing through the checkpoint in Newa area last evening, around 7:30 pm, when the incident allegedly occurred.

The Pulwama district’s Senior Superintendent of Police, Ashish Mishra denied that any such incident had taken place. “From 7 am to 7 pm there is a curfew in place and they were only asked for the pass,” he told The Kashmir Walla. “Prima facie no such incident has happened, but still the investigation into the matter is going on.”

However, Mr. Rashid said that the duo had provided valid movement passes – issued by Shopian district authorities – when asked by the personnel on duty but the passes were then snatched.

“They began to beat us severely when I told them that we are from the press. They abused us on that pretext”, alleged Mr. Rashid. “We were having valid movement passes and humbly showed our identity cards as well but the cops start abusing and thrashing both of us without letting us know the reason behind beating us.”

The Shopian-Pulwama Journalists Guild (SPWJG) has strongly condemned the alleged assault on the two journalists. A spokesperson for the SPWJG termed it an assault on freedom of press and demanded a “fair probe into the thrashing of their colleagues and action from the police against its men who assaulted them”.

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