India asked to allow coverage of Kashmir unrest
By Masood Haider
Wednesday, 15 Sep, 2010
photo at website
Kashmiri Muslim protesters are engulfed in tear gas during a clash with Indian police in Srinagar on September 14, 2010. Indian police opened fire today on stone-throwing protesters in Kashmir as small groups took to the streets in defiance of curfew orders, a day after violence in which 18 people died. - Photo by AFP.
NEW YORK: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called upon India on Monday to allow journalists to cover the widespread civil unrest in occupied Kashmir.
According to latest reports, 19 people died in battles between Indian troops as hundreds of Kashmiri protesters took to the streets in Srinagar and half a dozen other places in the region. Indian troops fired live ammunition and teargas to disperse them, police said
The region has been wracked by anti-India protests throughout the summer, but the chaos on Monday — exacerbated by reports of a Quran desecration in the United States — was the deadliest since large-scale demonstrations began in June.
"We urge the government to allow reporters to do their jobs covering this story of vital national significance," Bob Dietz, CPJ's Asia programme coordinator, said in a statement.
According to reports, the Indian government stopped the broadcast of Iranian Press TV, accusing it of inflaming the situation in Kashmir by repeatedly showing anti-Muslim activists in the United States taking part in scattered demonstrations in which the Holy Quran was desecrated.
"We're sceptical of government reports that link the Press TV broadcasts to the ongoing demonstrations, which have been continuing for months," Mr Dietz said. Indian authorities have sporadically restricted media outlets from covering anti-India demonstrations in occupied Kashmir.
Since 1989, an anti-India campaign and the ensuing crackdown by Indian forces have killed an estimated 68,000 people. Although the armed campaign is now largely suppressed, the region remains heavily militarised, with checkpoints along main roads, hundreds of thousands of troops stationed and harsh emergency laws still in force.
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