Press Freedom in Kashmir: Local and International Journalists Under Pressure

One local journalist alleges that he was “made a human shield” by Indian soldiers.

The recurring intimidation and abuse of journalists by the Indian state has risen to an alarming level in the recent past. An abysmal scenario has squeezed space to operate and report freely in Indian-administered Kashmir in particular. In a recent instance, a local journalist was reportedly “made a human shield” by Indian soldiers — a common occurrence in the valley, landlocked between the three nuclear-powered neighboring countries of India, Pakistan, and China. 

Recalling the horrible incident, Qisar Mir, who contributes to a regional network TV9 Bharatvarsh, said that on the evening of February 29, while he was returning home after work, he was stopped at Babgund in Pulwama by government forces. There was a siege laid in that area. “I was stopped by 55th Rashtriya Rifles (55RR), an Indian army counter-insurgency force. Despite showing them my journalist identity card, they snatched my laptop, camera, and mobile,” said Mir.

The journalist further alleges that he was “made a human shield” by the Indian soldiers. “I was asked to lead them to a door to door search operation in the village; when I resisted, they pushed me against the wall and landed a couple of punches and blows. I was set free only after about six hours during the night,” he added.

It didn’t stop there; the next week, on March 4, Qisar Mir, along with a fellow journalist, Qayoom Khan of CNN News 18, was held by the state police in Hakripora, a village in Pulwama district and were not allowed to report. The state police confiscated the journalists’ cameras and phones.


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