Outrage as another Kashmiri journalist stopped from flying abroad | Freedom of the Press News

Yet one more Kashmiri journalist has been stopped by the Indian authorities from flying overseas as outrage grows over a continuing clampdown on press freedom in Indian-administered Kashmir and its residents.

Impartial journalist Aakash Hassan, 25, was on his solution to Sri Lanka for a reporting task final week when immigration officers at New Delhi airport barred him from boarding the flight, making him the fourth Kashmiri journalist in a couple of 12 months to face the motion.

“I obtained my boarding move and after I was on the immigration, I used to be instructed to attend on the facet,” Hassan instructed Al Jazeera.

“Then I used to be taken to a room and interrogated by two individuals who didn’t determine themselves. They requested me what sort of journalism I do. They requested about my background,” he mentioned.

Hassan mentioned the interrogation continued for 5 hours.

“My passport and boarding move had been stamped with ‘Stopped with out prejudice’ and my baggage was offloaded,” mentioned Hassan, who additionally shared photos of the stamping on Twitter.

The immigration officers, Hassan mentioned, didn’t present any justification for why he was stopped.

“They mentioned there was a lookout round issued on my title however they denied disclosing which company had issued it,” he mentioned.

A lookout round is issued by India’s regulation enforcement companies to cease a person – both absconding or needed – from leaving the nation. It’s principally used at immigration checkpoints at worldwide airports.

Kashmir Press Club building is pictured through a closed gate
The Kashmir Press Membership in Srinagar was sealed by Indian authorities earlier this 12 months [File: Dar Yasin/AP]

‘Focused for our work’

Hassan mentioned there is no such thing as a legal case towards him.

“The worst factor is I don’t know who I ought to method. That is going to take a psychological toll on me. We’re being focused for our work,” he instructed Al Jazeera.

“It will jeopardise my future.”

Kashmiri journalists say issuing of lookout circulars towards them and stopping them from worldwide journey is a brand new pattern.

Final month, Pulitzer Prize-winning Kashmiri photojournalist Sanna Irshad Mattoo was prevented from flying to Paris for a photograph exhibition.

“I used to be shocked and heartbroken,” the 28-year-old then instructed Al Jazeera, including that she, like Hassan, didn’t have a legal case towards her.

Mattoo, a contributor to the Reuters information company, was a part of a four-member workforce of photojournalists that received the Pulitzer final 12 months for his or her protection of the COVID-19 disaster in India.

Final 12 months, two different Kashmiri journalists – Zahid Rafiq and Ruwa Shah – had been barred from flying overseas.

In 2019, unbiased journalist Gowhar Geelani was stopped at New Delhi airport when he was on his solution to Germany to hitch a job.

There have been comparable examples from exterior Kashmir as effectively.

In April this 12 months, Aakar Patel, former head of Amnesty Worldwide in India, mentioned he was stopped from flying to the USA due to a legal case filed towards the rights physique. Authorities mentioned Patel was on a “lookout round” issued by India’s Central Bureau of Investigation.

Days earlier than that, distinguished Indian journalist Rana Ayyub was additionally stopped from boarding a flight to London the place she was scheduled to deal with a press occasion. She was allowed to fly 5 days later after she approached a courtroom of regulation.

Some Kashmiris allege their passports weren’t being renewed by the Indian authorities.

“The passport verification course of has been pending for greater than six months,” a 30-year-old Kashmiri journalist who didn’t wish to be recognized instructed Al Jazeera.

‘Systematic sample of harassment’

Kashmiri lecturers and journalists learning or working overseas say they concern visiting house over the danger of being barred from flying again.

“They [authorities] have used every kind of means to harass journalists, questioning them, harassing households, arrests and now stopping them from going out of India is a brand new problem,” Kashmiri journalist Ahmad who didn’t wish to be recognized by his first title instructed Al Jazeera.

“With every day, doing journalism in Kashmir is turning into not possible … Journalism in Kashmir is sort of lifeless,” he added.

Al Jazeera reached out to a number of authorities officers in Kashmir for his or her feedback on the problem. One official, talking on the situation of anonymity, justified the restrictions on Kashmiri journalists.

“It [the lookout circular] is being issued solely towards these people who peddle a sustained insidious narrative towards the [Indian] state. They [journalists] are a part of the ‘terror ecosystem’ and the state is inside its rights to problem lookout circulars towards such individuals,” he mentioned.

After India’s Hindu nationalist authorities stripped Kashmir of its restricted autonomy in 2019, the disputed area has witnessed a collection of crackdowns towards journalists and media organisations.

In January this 12 months, the Kashmir Press Club – the most important unbiased media physique within the area – was dissolved by the federal government. Kashmiri journalists complain of being routinely summoned to police stations and interrogated about their work.

Journalist Aasif Sultan in handcuffs on his way to judicial custody
Kashmiri journalist Aasif Sultan has been in jail for almost 4 years [File: Saqib Majeed/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images]

Some journalists have been booked under stringent laws, together with the Illegal Actions Prevention Act (UAPA) and the Public Safety Act (PSA), which permit lengthy detention of an individual with out trial.

India is ranked a hundred and fiftieth within the World Press Freedom Index 2022, down from 142 the earlier 12 months and presently under Hong Kong and Turkey.

“The journey bans are a part of a scientific sample of harassment towards Kashmiri journalists, who’ve more and more confronted arbitrary arrest, frivolous authorized circumstances, threats, bodily assaults, and raids since August 2019,” media watchdog the Committee to Defend Journalists (CPJ) tweeted final month.

Referring to Hassan’s case, CPJ mentioned, “International governments should deal with arbitrary journey restrictions on Kashmiri journalists as severe violations of human rights in any engagement with the Indian authorities.”

Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director of Human Rights Watch, instructed Al Jazeera “arbitrary restrictions” on Kashmiri journalists travelling overseas had been “extraordinarily regarding” and violated their livelihood and freedom of motion.

Geeta Seshu, co-founder of the Free Speech Collective, an unbiased organisation that advocates press freedom in India, mentioned “persevering with harassment and intimidation” of Kashmiri journalists by stopping them from flying overseas “smacks of discrimination”.

“Additionally it is disturbing because it seeks to ship a message to unbiased journalists that their proper of free entry and mobility is incumbent on their obedience and acquiescence to the powers that be,” she instructed Al Jazeera.

“That is undemocratic and violates their basic proper to free expression. So many journalists from India have travelled to numerous hassle spots, together with Sri Lanka, with out being stopped or curbed in any means.”

‘Like time had stopped’: Japan grapples with Shinzo Abe’s loss | News

Tokyo, Japan – The fatal shooting of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe within the western prefecture of Nara has despatched shockwaves by means of Japan, a rustic the place firearms are extremely regulated and gun violence is uncommon.

Abe’s physique was returned to Tokyo on Saturday as dozens of journalists gathered exterior his Tomigaya residence within the capital whereas joggers and other people strolling their canine handed by.

Fewer than 10 law enforcement officials have been on the bottom earlier than 8am exterior the residence, however a number of streets again, a considerably heightened police presence was seen. Al Jazeera counted not less than two dozen unmarked and marked vehicles, whereas officers prowled the realm.

Abe, 67, remained an essential determine in Japan’s political sphere, wielding vital affect within the governing Liberal Democratic Get together (LDP) celebration till his dying.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, sometimes called Abe’s protege, stated he’s in a state of disbelief. “I’m merely speechless over the information of Abe’s dying,” he informed reporters.

‘Like time had stopped’

Tomigaya, the place Abe lived, together with throughout the interval he served as prime minister, is a leafy, central neighbourhood – dwelling to embassies and common cafes and eating places.

Shota Tanamachi, a barista at Espresso Supreme, a restaurant visited by Abe, was shocked by the assassination. Abe was somebody he noticed across the neighbourhood.

“Yesterday, it was terrible,” Tanamachi informed Al Jazeera. He stated he tried to keep away from trying on the photos of the capturing which dominated the entrance pages of Japanese newspapers on Saturday morning.

Surprised residents in Japan have been glued to their telephones as NHK, the nation’s public broadcaster, performed footage of the capturing on loop and particulars in regards to the shooter have been slowly revealed throughout the day.

Tokyo-based broadcaster Chris Gilbert described a “surreal, heavy silence” because the information broke that Abe had died.

“When the information hit … it was like time had stopped. Everybody was standing and their telephones. I feel everybody was realising the identical factor on the similar time,” he stated.

From these keen on Abe got here an outpouring of grief. In Nara close to the practice station the place he was shot, residents laid flowers and tokens, prayed and took photographs.

Police patrol the major roads
Law enforcement officials patrol the streets round Abe’s dwelling in Tomigaya, Tokyo [Jeremy Smart/Al Jazeera]

In a press release, Rahm Emanuel, the US ambassador to Japan referred to as Abe “a world chief” who was “forward of his time”.

Ichiro Matsui, chief of the opposition Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Get together), informed media that whereas the 2 belonged to completely different events, they “agreed on the thought of creating Japan higher”.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, a former LDP member, expressed shock on the information. “It doesn’t matter what the explanation could also be, I merely can not tolerate this act of barbarism,” she stated.

Whereas Abe boasted of shut relationships with heads of state, he’s usually fondly remembered in popular culture for showing as Tremendous Mario on the 2016 Rio Olympics.

However in Japan, his picture is extra complicated.

A 20-year-old inventive enterprise proprietor who lives and works in Tomigaya and declined to provide his identify, described himself as “by no means” politically engaged, however recalled Abe as a “polarising determine” throughout his time as prime minister.

He discovered the weapon used probably the most shocking element. “What? Weapons in Japan?” he requested in response to Friday’s assassination.

Shinzo Abe’s street in Tomigaya
Shinzo Abe’s residence is on this avenue in Tomigaya, central Tokyo [Jeremy Smart/Al Jazeera]

“I don’t suppose it’s doable to have [a gun] in Japan,” he stated. “I’ve shot some weapons, I’ve seen some weapons, however in Tokyo, in Japan, by no means.”

Police have since confirmed the weapon that killed Abe was home made.

Mari Iwata, a media skilled in Tokyo, described Abe as “a villain”, however was surprised by the capturing, saying these against political leaders ought to use the vote, not violence.

One other Tomigaya resident stated whereas there have been random acts of violence in Japan, corresponding to mass stabbings, “it’s unusual to see [gun violence] right here”.

“It’s unbelievable, it’s like one thing you see in films, one thing that isn’t in Japan.”

Press await the arrival of Abe’s body
Reporters await the arrival of Abe’s physique at his dwelling in Tokyo’s Tomigaya neighbourhood [Jeremy Smart/Al Jazeera]

Election to go forward

In streets round Tomigaya, sun-faded marketing campaign posters stay dotted round. Officers say the elections will go forward as deliberate.

Director of the LDP Public Affairs Division Kono Taro tweeted he was “deeply shocked and saddened” by Abe’s passing, and referred to as serving in his cupboard an honour.

“The LDP is not going to be deterred by violence and can proceed our election marketing campaign to the tip,” he wrote.

Campaign posters
Marketing campaign posters line the streets round Abe’s dwelling in Tokyo [Jeremy Smart/Al Jazeera]

Kishida labored carefully with Abe, and the previous prime minister’s insurance policies have served as one thing of a blueprint for the celebration.

Abe, who pushed to rewrite the nation’s pacifist structure, strongly backed Kishida’s push for constitutional reform amid shifting geopolitical dynamics and aggression from North Korea and China within the area.

If Kishida wins sufficient assist throughout Sunday’s higher home elections, he might grow to be the primary prime minister to alter the structure since its promulgation after the second world warfare.

Because the nation grapples with the shock and plenty of mourn the lack of Abe, the upcoming election outcomes could carry extra sharply into focus the consequences of the previous prime minister’s loss on the LDP.

Japanese newspapers on display
Japanese newspapers on show in a Tokyo retailer after Abe’s assassination [Jeremy Smart/Al Jazeera]