The assault was widely condemned by his colleagues
Zafar Aafaq | Clarion India
A journalist was allegedly assaulted by police in Kashmir’s Anantnag district while he was on way home on Saturday evening.
Aakash Hassan, 23, an independent journalist who contributes to international publications said in a tweet “beaten up by JKP (Jammu and Kashmir Police) cops at Sangam while I was on way home and they were cleaning traffic.”
He named a sub-inspector Zahid who, along with his PSO “slapped and abused” him.
I was just beaten up by JKP cops at Sangam while I was on way home and they were cleaning traffic.
A sub inspector named Zahid and his one PSO came in front of my car and slapped and beat me up by batons—and the barrage of abuses. pic.twitter.com/3azazpO16S
— Aakash Hassan (@AakashHassan) July 17, 2021
Hassan, while speaking with Clarion India, described the assault as an “attack on him for his journalistic identity.”
“I was driving slowly along in the queue of vehicles when a cop flashed a torch on the windshield and saw the press sticker and yelled “press, press” while the other cop grabbed my collar and hit me in the face,” Hassan recounted. “I started bleeding from my nose. They tried to drag me out of my car but I drove away quickly.”
He said that a load carrier driver was also beaten before him.
He soon rushed to a health facility in Anantnag town where doctors saw him. “I was given first aid and also advised to see an ENT specialist.”
He also posted visuals on his Twitter account which showed blood and bruises on his nose and hand.
As soon as his tweet went viral, the district police in Anantnag responded saying that “Cognisance taken. Circumstances that led to this being looked into.During rush evening hours,a loaded truck got stuck due to mechanical fault on Sangam bridge leading to heavy traffic jamming.Been working hard to clear it.Request all to cooperate with police & avoid confrontation.”
Hassan also said that the local superintendent of police also called him to say “sorry and promised action.”
“I demand that the cops who assaulted me should be booked and taken to task,” Hassan said.
The assault was widely condemned by his colleagues in Kashmir who asked the police authorities to take action against the erring cops.
“Terrible, unacceptable: JKP needs to suspend the cops involved in beating up our young colleague,” wrote journalist Majid Maqbool, expressing solidarity with Hassan.
While demanding action against the accused cops, Journalist Federation of Kashmir, an association of journalists in the region, said the attack on him once again highlights the lack of accountability and reflects the ground reality in Kashmir.
The group reiterated its demand for an immediate end to impunity for crimes committed against journalists.