J&K: Passports of 2 journalists, PDP leader suspended

The journalists have no criminal history but have been previously questioned many times for their reporting on the Valley.

Authorities have suspended the passports of two Kashmir-based journalists and one PDP leader citing “security threats to India.”

As per a report by The Wire, Section 10(3) of The Passports Act, 1967, was invoked which can impound or revoke an Indian passport if it “deems it necessary so to do in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of India, friendly relations of India with any foreign country, or in the interests of the general public.”

An email was sent to the journalists and the PDP worker, requesting them to report to the Srinagar office on Boulevard Road near Nehru Park. “Failure to comply will result in action,” the email read.

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Confirming the news, The Wire quoted Srinagar passport officer Devinder Singh, “We have got instructions to suspend the passports of dozens of persons but I can’t disclose the exact number. Some of them have been intimated about the action being taken.”

The journalists have no criminal history but have been previously questioned many times for their reporting on the Valley.

PDP worker’s passport impounded

The passport of a People’s Democratic Party leader, who is also close aide of its youth president Waheed Parra, has been suspended.

Parra is among the many activists who was arrested for protesting against the abrogation of Article 370. He was restrained from leaving the Valley and joining a leadership programme at Yale University earlier this year.

PDP youth president Waheed Parra

There has been a continuous crackdown on Kashmiri journalists who have either been restrained from leaving the country or in worst cases, arrested citing “security threat to the nation.”

Crackdown on Kashmiri journalists

Sanna Irshad Mattoo

Last year, 29-year-old Srinagar-based photojournalist Sanna Irshad Mattoo was stopped from flying to the United States at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport. She was again restricted from flying to Paris to participate in a book launch and photography exhibition.

Mattoo is a Pulitzer award recipient.

Zahid Rafiq

Zahid Rafiq, another Srinagar-based journalist was not allowed to fly for a teaching fellowship at Cornell University. He has worked with The Hindu and Tehelka magazine.

Currently, about four Kashmiri journalists are languishing in prison under the draconian UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) Act.

According to the Humans Rights Watch report, 35 Kashmiri journalists have faced interogation, physical assault, intimidation and arrest since 2019, when the Narendra Modi Bharatiya Janata Party government was reelected at the Centre.

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