Pulitzer-winning Kashmiri photojournalist stopped from flying to Paris

Sanna Irshad Mattoo. Photo: Special Arrangement

Sanna Irshad Mattoo. Photo: Special Arrangement

A Pulitzer winning photojournalist from Jammu and Kashmir was stopped from flying to Paris at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport on Saturday.

Sanna Irshad Mattoo said on Twitter that despite procuring a French visa she was stopped from flying out of the country. 

“I was scheduled to travel from Delhi to Paris today for a book launch and photography exhibition as one of 10 award winners of the Serendipity Arles grant 2020. Despite procuring a French visa, I was stopped at the immigration desk at Delhi airport.” Ms. Mattoo said.

She added, “I was not given any reason but told I would not be able to travel internationally.”

Ms. Mattoo from Srinagar is part of the Reuters team of journalists who won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography, 2022 for their coverage of COVID-19 pandemic in India.

J&K police did not comment on the issue. It was not known on whose request Ms. Matoo was stopped from boarding an international flight.

Passengers are stopped by the immigration on the basis of Look Out Circulars (LOC). A person will not know if such a circular exists against him or her till they have booked the tickets and reached the airport.

According to the existing guidelines, LOCs are initiated by many agencies which includes Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Enforcement Directorate, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Income Tax, State police and intelligence agencies among others by an officer not below the rank of a district magistrate or superintendent of police.

After the special status of J&K under Article 370 of the Constitutions was revoked by the Parliament in August 2019, LOCs were opened against several politicians, human rights activists, journalists, and social activists to bar them from flying out of the country. The number of persons and the crime for which they have been placed under the list is unknown.

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Printable version | Jul 3, 2022 10:21:37 am |