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US calls for press freedom in India after Pulitzer Prize winner unable to travel

Sanna Irshad Mattu Wins Pulitzer Prize for Pandemic Coverage in India | Font: @sanna.irshad.mattoo on Instagram

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The United States asked on Wednesday respect for freedom of the press in India after authorities banned a Kashmiri photographer from flying to New York to win a Pulitzer Prize.

Sanna Irshad Mattu She was detained by immigration officers at the airport in St. New Delhi late Tuesday evening and he was not allowed to board and two of his colleagues were allowed to leave the country.

The US government said it was aware of what happened to Mattu and was following his case “closely”.

“A shared commitment to democratic values, including respect for the independence of the pressis the foundation of US-India relations,” State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters.

He declined to elaborate on whether Washington had raised the issue with India, a growing US partner, among other things. USA.

Critics say human rights and press freedoms have dwindled under Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and journalists who have doubts about the government, especially women, face relentless campaigns of abuse online.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres, in a speech Wednesday in Mumbai, hailed India’s achievements since independence but urged New Delhi to defendRights and freedoms of journalistshuman rights activists, students and scientists”.

Pullitzer Winner

Mattu She is one of four Reuters journalists to win the prestigious Pulitzer Prize in the photo essay category this year for their portrayal of the coronavirus pandemic in India.

The 28-year-old continues to be praised for documenting life in Indian-ruled Kashmir, a disputed and highly militarized Himalayan territory where insurgency has continued for decades.

“I don’t know what to say…it was a unique opportunity for me,” said Mattu, also a member of the Magnum Foundation. “They stopped me for no reason and the others were allowed to leave. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I’m Kashmiri.”

On Tuesday, for the second time this year, Matt was not allowed to leave India.

In July, she was similarly detained at the same airport on her way to Paris for a book launch and photo exhibition.

India sought to assert its control over Kashmir, which is also fully claimed by neighboring Pakistan and which was a constant source of tension between the two nuclear nations.

Thousands have died there since the uprising against Indian rule began in 1989, and more than half a million soldiers are permanently stationed in the region.

In 2019, the Modi government stripped the territory of its limited autonomy and, to prevent any uprising, shut down internet connections for several months and imprisoned political leaders.

(According to AFP)

Source: RPP

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