July 2016 News

Pulwama Militant Killing: A Cleric Incites Crowd Against Media

1 July 2016
Kashmir Life
Zafar Aafaq

Srinagar: On Thursday when two militants died in South Kashmir's Newa encounter, a group of photo journalists who drove to Pulwama hamlet from Srinagar to cover the encounter and the aftermath faced wrath of public. The photo journalists reached the spot, they witnessed intense stone pelting going on between youths and forces. After covering the incidents of stone pelting, the journalists decided to go Ghandipora village to cover the funeral of the local militant identified as Manzoor Ahmad. Manzoor Ahmad Militant 2 When they reached the village, people were waiting for the slain militant's body. Atmosphere was emotionally charged as youth resorted to intense pro-freedom slogans. Amid Salaams in honour of slain militants, a few Hurriyat Leaders delivered fierce speeches. The photojournalists were busy covering the protests until an Imam of a local Masjid got up on and took charge of the dais. Manzoor Ahmad Militant Then came the surprising announcement from the young, long bearded cleric. 'They (photo journalists) belong to Indian media groups,' he yelled at the crowd. 'Don't let them click any photo or take any video,' he directed the crowds. His logic was simple but intriguing: 'Indian media calls our martyrs as terrorists.' The announcement created uneasiness among the photo journalists as some people started to hustle the journalists. Out of fear, the journalists shut down their cameras and became mute spectators. When the body of the slain militant arrived, it was the right moment for journalists to click photographs but they could not dare to go ahead as they feared backlash from the charged up mob. Newa Pulwama The Newa Chowk. (KL Images: Bilal Bahadur) However, as one photo-journalist tried to take roll out camera, one youth came up (the media men were standing on a wall) and snatched the camera only to be saved by fellow media men. But they managed a few shots. After the funeral was over, when the body was being laid to rest, a group of respectable village elders approached the photo journalists and apologized with them on behalf of those who attempted to manhandle the Srinagar based photojournalists.