Kashmir cops face action for thrashing journalists

by Sami Burgaz
9 policemen handed transfer orders for assaulting journalists covering Muslim ritual procession in Srinagar on Aug. 17.

SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir (AA) – Nine policemen in Indian-administered Kashmir were transferred on Wednesday as punishment for assaulting journalists at an event in the capital Srinagar.

Cops detained dozens of people and thrashed several journalists at a Muharram rally – a Muslim ritual – on Tuesday, with videos and images shared on social media drawing condemnation from political leaders and rights groups, including the Committee to Protect Journalists.

A police officer named Aftab Ahmad Bhat was identified as the instigator of the violence. Videos showed him and other cops clearly using excessive force against journalists, shoving them and hitting them with batons.

Following calls for accountability, Dilbagh Singh, police chief of the disputed region, ordered immediate action over the “undesirable behavior” of the cops.

A notification issued by the Jammu and Kashmir Police confirmed the transfers of Bhat, Mushtaq Ahmad, Mohammad Ishaq, Muddasir Nazar, Manzoor Ahmad, Sheikh Adil, Showkat Ali Darzi, Ghulam Mustafa, and Zaheer Nissar.

Rallies are held all over the world by Shia Muslims in Muharram, the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar, to mark the martyrdom of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson and his family in Karbala, now part of Iraq.

In Srinagar, the main procession – covering several miles from the central business area of Lal Chowk to the city’s old parts – has been banned since 1990, when the anti-India insurgency started in the disputed Himalayan region.

Several smaller processions, however, are still seen in some areas of the capital and rural districts.

Police claimed that Tuesday’s procession was disrupted because the organizers did not have permission.


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