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 Police beat and arrest reporter covering protest in Srinagar

Police beat and arrest reporter covering protest in Srinagar

Published on Friday 28 September 2012.
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Reporters Without Borders reiterates its alarm about the growing threats to journalists in India after Azhar Qadri, a reporter for the independent Kashmir Tribune newspaper, was beaten and arrested by police while covering a protest in Srinagar, in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, on 26 September.

"We condemn violence by the Indian police against journalists and call on the authorities to do what is necessary to ensure that this latest attack does not go unpunished," Reporters Without Borders said.

"Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah must do more than just ’look at the question,’ as he said during a news conference. Concrete measures must be taken to guarantee journalists’ safety."

Qadri told Reporters Without Borders he was interviewing a small group of student protesters outside a government building when a policeman hit him in the face. Qadri identified himself as reporter but the policeman "persisted with his assault and was joined by at least 10 to 15 other police officers, who kicked me and hit me with their rifles."

A colleague who was with Qadri confirmed to Reporters Without Borders that the assault completely unprovoked.

Qadri added: "I was forced into a police vehicle and taken to Shaheed Gunj police station, where I was held for over an hour. Before releasing me, they made me sign a paper. When I asked why I had to sign it, they told me I’d better sign quietly or they would book me on fabricated charges."

India is ranked 131st out of 179 countries in the 2011-2012 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

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