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Pulitzer winner Kashmiri photojournalist stopped from flying out

Sana Irshad Mattoo, who was on her way to Paris, said she was stopped by the officials without giving any reason, and told that she could not travel abroad.

Written by Bashaarat Masood | Srinagar |
Updated: July 3, 2022 7:14:30 am
Photojournalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Sana Irshad Mattoo. (Instagram @sanna.irshad.mattoo)

Kashmiri photojournalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Sana Irshad Mattoo was stopped by immigration officials at Delhi airport and prevented from travelling to France on Saturday.

Mattoo, who was on her way to Paris to attend a book launch and photography exhibition, said she was stopped by the officials without giving any reason, and told that she could not travel abroad.

“I was scheduled to travel from Delhi to Paris today for a book launch and photography exhibition as one of the 10 award winners of the Serendipity Arles grant 2020. Despite procuring a French visa, I was stopped at the immigration desk at Delhi airport,” Mattoo tweeted while posting her cancelled boarding pass. “I was not given any reason but told I would not be able to travel internationally.”

While there was no official word from either the state or Centre, sources in the J&K Police said that Mattoo was among several journalists from the Valley put on the no-fly list by the government.

In September 2019, Kashmiri journalist Gowhar Geelani had been stopped by immigration officials at the Delhi airport on his way to Germany. Last year, the J&K administration had stopped journalist-turned-academician Zahid Rafiq from travelling to the US, where he was to teach at a university.

Journalist Ruwa Shah was also prevented from travelling abroad. Another academician from South Kashmir was stopped but later allowed to travel after some months.

A resident of Srinagar, the 28-year-old Mattoo works as a photojournalist for the international wire agency Reuters. She won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in feature photography along with three other Reuters photographers for their coverage of the Covid second wave in India.

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Supported by the Institut Francais en Inde, a section of the French Embassy in India, the grant is open to “lens based practitioners” who are residents of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, as per the website of Serendipity Arles.

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First published on: 02-07-2022 at 06:26:54 pm

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