Indian police accused of assaulting 2 Associated Press journalists in troubled Indian Kashmir

Friday, October 1, 2010

Police accused of beating AP reporters in Kashmir

SRINAGAR, India — Two Associated Press journalists were assaulted by police Friday at a roadblock in Indian-controlled Kashmir, and one was knocked out by blows from rifle butts and batons.

Local journalists have repeatedly complained of harassment and assaults by police during turmoil in the Himalayan territory that has killed more than 100 people since June, most of them demonstrators and bystanders.

With a curfew in place, AP Television News journalists Meraj Uddin Dar and his son, Umar Dar, were stopped at a checkpoint as they drove to work Friday.

Police inspected their identity cards and curfew passes — which are given out by Indian authorities to journalists allowing them to work — and initially refused to let them pass. Officers relented after the reporters protested.

As they began to drive away, police yelled for them to stop. Umar Dar said he got out of the car to complain and a police officer slapped him. After Meraj Uddin Dar left the vehicle, officers beat him unconscious with fists, rifle butts and batons, Umar Dar said.

Another journalist at the scene called a police commander, who took the men to a hospital.

Meraj Uddin Dar was admitted with neck injuries and underwent neurological tests.

Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said the incident was being investigated.

Reporters Without Borders reported in July that Indian paramilitary forces beat up 12 journalists covering a demonstration. Reporter Mark Magnier with the Los Angeles Times and Riyaz Masroor of the BBC were assaulted by security forces during a separate incident, the media rights group said.

Ghulam Hassan Kaloo, president of the Kashmir Press Association, said his group called an emergency meeting for Saturday. “The police confiscated copies of almost all newspapers early today. Now they have beaten our colleagues as well. This is alarming,” he said.

will not be displayed