Persecution of Media

Journalists of have been manhandled and beaten up by Indian forces. Fortunately, members of the world media fraternity trickle inside and offer some protection, working as a phalanx. That however has not always worked.

In one incident, a demonstration of women marched to the UN Observers' Office with a petition against the recent cases of rape committed by the Indian army. The armed forces unleashed a violent attack on the women, mostly veiled, hitting them with bamboo sticks and drove them in the direction of their HQ nearby. The army came for the reporters taking pictures of the incident. A BBC reporter received a deep gash on his head and was carried to hospital. "Get lost" was the response from the army commander Narider Kumar to the group of reports.

Mr G M Lone, a journalist from Kangan Kashmir, made a statement that he was warned by the local officer that he will be killed if he continued to report atrocities in that area. This warning was published in all Kashmir newspapers. Two days later he was killed along with 7 year-old son. Willaim A Orme, Jr Executive director of CPJ (Committee for protection of Journalists), made a representation to Narasima Rao, PM of India. "CPJ views slaying of Mr Lone and his son is a flagrant violations of the right to seek, receive and impart information, regardless of frontiers, guaranteed by article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We want judicial investigation into the case." Copies went to all forums of the world. India stalled any response.

BBC Office bombed

On 8th September 1995, the BBC office in Srinagar was blasted by a parcel bomb hand delivered by a veiled woman. One photographer died, others are still recovering from injuries. Kashmiri organisations deplored the attack. No forensics were carried out by the authorities even upto a month after the incident. It is strongly believed that the attack had the blessings of the forces.

There have been protest marches by the journalists, organised by CPJ, demanding and end to the persecution of the media in Kashmir. So far the Indian authorities are unmoved.

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