Sanna Irshad Mattoo tells Al Jazeera that she has been stopped from going to Paris to attend the book launch and photo exhibition.
An Indian-controlled Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist in Kashmir says she was banned from traveling abroad by Indian authorities who did not provide a valid reason for her refusal.
Sanna Irshad Mattoo, as one of the 10 winners of Serendipity Arles Grant 2020, told Al Jazeera that she will travel from New Delhi to Paris on Saturday for a book release and a photo exhibition.
Mattoo, a resident of Srinagar, won the Pulitzer Prize with three other members of Reuters for his photographs of the COVID-19 crisis in India.
“My flight was scheduled for Saturday afternoon. At immigration, I was set aside and told to wait three hours. I kept asking the authorities why until I missed the plane.” Told.
Mattoo later said he was told he couldn’t fly abroad. “But they didn’t provide an explanation,” she said.
“This is insane. There is nothing against me. One of the officials told me that Kashmir needed to confirm the reason from where the instructions came. Why was it stopped? I don’t know, “Sana told Al Jazeera on the phone from New Delhi Airport.
“I am very disappointed. I have been looking forward to this opportunity.”
Mattoo shared a photo of his ticket and passport stamped “unbiasedly canceled” by the Immigration Bureau of India on Twitter.
Today, as one of the 10 winners of Serendipity Arles Grant 2020, I was planning to travel from Delhi to Paris for the release of the book and the photo exhibition. Despite getting a French visa, I stopped by the Immigration Bureau at Delhi Airport. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/OoEdBBWNw6
— Sanna Irshad Mattoo (@mattoosanna) July 2, 2022
Journalists and media watchdogs have criticized this move by calling it an “obstructive pattern.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said the Government of India “must immediately end the practice of banning Kashmiris journalists from traveling abroad.”
“The travel ban is part of a systematic pattern of harassment of Kashmir journalists who are increasingly facing arbitrary arrests, frivolous proceedings, intimidation, physical attacks and attacks since August 2019.” I tweeted.
In recent years, many Indian journalists and activists have claimed that Indian authorities have stopped traveling abroad.
In April of this year, Aakar Patel, former head of Amnesty International in India, said he had suspended flights to the United States after a criminal proceeding was filed against the Indian office of a rights organization in 2019.
Officials said Patel participated in the Central Investigation Bureau’s “lookout circulation” to prevent law enforcement personnel from flying abroad.
A few days ago, prominent Indian journalist Lana Iyube was also banned from boarding a plane to London, where she planned to work on an event targeting Indian journalists. After she approached the courtroom, she was allowed to fly later.
Both Patel and Ayyub are critics of the voice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government.
In 2019, Kashmir journalist Gohalzilani claimed to have stopped traveling to Europe at New Delhi Airport.