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Pulitzer winning Kashmiri scribe stopped from flying to New York

This is the second time I have been stopped without reason or cause, says Sanna Irshad Mattoo
Sanna Irshad Mattoo
Sanna Irshad Mattoo

Muzaffar Raina   |   Srinagar   |   Published 19.10.22, 12:35 AM

Kashmiri journalist Sanna Irshad Mattoo, the winner of this year’s Pulitzer Prize in Feature Photography, was on Tuesday allegedly barred by immigration authorities in Delhi from flying to New York to receive the award.

“I was on my way to receive the Pulitzer award (@Pulitzerprizes) in New York but I was stopped at immigration at Delhi airport and barred from travelling internationally despite holding a valid US visa and ticket,” Sanna tweeted on Tuesday night, uploading pictures of her passport and ticket stamped “cancelled”.

“This is the second time I have been stopped without reason or cause. Despite reaching out to several officials after what happened a few months ago but I never received any response. Being able to attend the award ceremony was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me,” she said in another tweet.

On April 9, Sanna was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in the Feature Photography category for her coverage of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in India. She shared the award with Adnan Abidi, Amit Dave and the deceased Danish Siddiqui.

Sanna, who works for Reuters, is among several Kashmiri journalists who appear to be on a “no-fly list” that has been reportedly prepared by the intelligence agencies in Jammu and Kashmir to prevent them from travelling abroad. Sanna is the first Kashmiri woman recipient of the Pulitzer award.

Since the Pulitzer recognition, Sanna has frequently been targeted by the Right-wing ecosystem, some of them accusing her of an anti-India bias.

The alleged action against Sanna is being seen as another reminder that government agencies are unwilling to relax their crackdown against Kashmiri journalists, who have been relentlessly targeted after the 2019 scrapping of special status.

In July too, she was barred from travelling to Paris for a book launch and photography exhibition as one of the 10 winners of the Serendipity Arles Grant 2020. She had said she had a valid French visa and alleged she was given no reason for being stopped.

Sanna’s 17-year-old cousin, Tufail Mattoo, died in alleged police action in 2010 while he was returning from tuition. His alleged murder led to a months-long uprising that left around 100 civilians dead and thousands injured.

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