Aakash Hassan, a Kashmir-based freelance journalist, was kept at the Delhi airport by immigration officers for several hours. In a video message, Aakash said that because he is from valley, he is being stopped from going to Sri Lanka to report.
According to Aakash, Immigration officers in Delhi made him wait for 5 hours, and then told that he cannot go to Sri Lanka to report. Later cancellation was stamped on his boarding card. The reason why this is being done to him was not given, only they said that a lookout circular has been issued against him.
He was not told which agency has issued the look out circular. However, a Jammu and Kashmir Police official told news agency PTI that, Hassan has been placed on the no-fly list.
Aakash Hassan says that this is not the first time happening with any Kashmiri Journalist, his friend Sana Irshad Mattoo, who is a Pulitzer Award winning photojournalist, was also stopped in the same way at the Delhi airport.
Let us tell you that on July 2, Sana Mattoo was stopped from going to a photo exhibition organized in Paris.
Hassan says that “it is clear, what is happening. This is a tactic to harass Kashmiri journalists. We have seen earlier also how the administration has been harassing Kashmiri journalists by sending summons. Stopping us from going to other countries is part of this harassment.”
Who is Aakash Hassan?
Aakash Hassan is a freelance journalist from Kashmir. Aakash hails from Anantnag and currently works in Srinagar. He has studied Journalism from Degree College Baramula. He do freelance work with media organizations such as The Guardian and Aljazeera. He was on his way to Sri Lanka to complete an assignment for the Guardian and Telegraph London.
Recently his name was appeared in an op-ed published in Rising Kashmir, In which Kashmiri Journalist like Sana Matto, Akash Hassan and others were described as “Terrorist Sympathisers”.
What this Article said?
“Terrorists are short-lived. But that is not the case with the other group that gives terrorists some legitimacy and helps them recruit misguided youth… In the Kashmir Valley, a host of narrative builders, largely backed by international media platforms and unspeakable news portals, are thriving. These newly minted narrative builders are not baptized in a newsroom but in cafes like the one near Amar Singh College. Possibly, they have never worked on beats, desktops and hardly have any experience in the art of farming fonts. But they have other advantages that a specialized reporter will never have: luxury of time and a solid extrajudicial ecosystem. They are well trained to preach hate, lending legitimacy to Pakistan’s state-sponsored brutality against common Kashmiri.”
Naming Mattoo among others, he further states: “A well-known narrative builder is Ms. Sana Irshad Mattoo. Born in central Srinagar, Ms. Mattoo is a typical anti-state and pro-Pakistani narrative builder. She speaks the same language that she finds sanctioned in the lexicon of the outlawed Lashkar-e-Taiba (leT) or any other Pakistan-backed terrorist group operating in the Kashmir valley. But unlike the terrorists, she is not on the run or hiding in the jungle. She lives in a society and carries more powerful weapons of mass indoctrination.”
“She (Mattoo) leads a group of similar narrative drivers and concert consumers who sell misery to aggrandize themselves. Among others are Uzma Falak, Nusrat Sidiq, Jehangir Ali, Haziq Qadri, Bilal Kuchay, Mohd Raafi, Quratul ul Al Rehbar, Kamran Yusuf, Kaisar Andrabi, Akash Hassan, etc. They all contribute to various publications in India and abroad, but the subtext is common to what Ms. Mattoo conveys through her articles of hers,” the op-ed states.
PDP chief and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said stopping Mr Hassan from travelling abroad came at a time Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said independent journalism is the backbone of democracy. “It’s no secret that GOI wants to crush the very backbone and fourth pillar of our democracy because of its intolerance to the truth”.
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