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Press Council of India (PCI) has taken Suo-moto cognizance of police assault on photo- journalists here on March 16,2017, and has issued notices to J&K Chief Secretary, Director General of Police, Secretary Home(Police) Department and Senior Superintendent of Police Srinagar.

The Press Council of India expressed serious concern over the issue and has asked the concerned to file a reply within two weeks. “It has been brought to the notice of Council that Srinagar Police have thrashed and threatened to kill photo-journalist in Srinagar during news coverage on March 16,2017,” reads the notice, a copy of which is with Greater Kashmir.

It adds that since the prima-facie it concerns free functioning of the press the chairman, Press Council of India, has viewed the incident with concern and taken the cognizance of the matter under regulation 13 of press (Procedure for Inquiry) Regulations,1979. Now therefore, the notice reads, the Government of J&K is called upon to file a report on the facts along with its “Reply Statement” within two weeks from the date of receipt of this letter. The complaint has been filed by K Amarnath, before Justice KC Prasad, Chairman, Press Council of India.

Pertinently, Police last Thursday beat up several photo-journalists at Hyderpora in uptown here. The scribes had gone to cover a presser by separatist leaders. 

The thrashing of journalists by the Police evoked sharp reaction from the media fraternity in Kashmir, with journalists announcing to boycott all police functions in case no action is taken against the erring police officer.

The Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) also condemned the police action against newsmen. “The KEG has taken a strong exception to the misuse of power for muzzling the media. This has, unfortunately, been a routine than an exception,” a KEG spokesman had said. “We demand intervention by the government at the highest level to ensure that the State’s principal arm does not exhibit an abnormal growth.”