Pulitzer-winning photojournalist from Kashmir, Sanna Irshad Mattoo has said that she was stopped from travelling to the US at Delhi’s IGI airport. Mattoo was awarded the Pulitzer for her coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic for the news agency Reuters. She was on her way to attend the award ceremony when she was stopped. Mattoo said no reason was given for stopping her and “despite having a valid visa and ticket” she wasn’t allowed to travel. The Indian government has not made any statement regarding the incident.
As per a Live Mint report, the 28-year-old photojournalist was scheduled to fly to New York on Monday.
"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," Mattoo wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.
Earlier in July, Mattoo was stopped while flying from Delhi to Paris for a book launch and photography exhibition as one of the winners of an award. She had then alleged the immigration authorities didn’t clarify why she was stopped from flying except that she could not travel abroad as there were restrictions.
News Agency PTI reported that the officials in the Jammu and Kashmir police have said that she had been placed on a no-fly list with no further elaboration.
Mattoo had been working as an independent photojournalist since 2018 in Jammu and Kashmir. She was among the 2022 Pulitzer Prize winners in the Feature Photography category for the coverage of the COVID-19 crisis in India as part of a team from Reuters.
The incident has sparked new allegations that the Indian government is trying to stifle independent voices in the country. This year, several activists and journalists have been stopped from leaving or entering the country.
As per a BBC report, in March, journalist Rana Ayyub, who writes for the Washington Post, was stopped at the Mumbai airport while travelling to the UK to deliver a speech at the International Centre for Journalists.
She was allowed to travel a few days later after she won an appeal against the decision in the Delhi High Court.
In August, Angad Singh, an Emmy-nominated American journalist of Indian origin, was also reportedly deported to New York after landing in Delhi.
His family alleged that the action was in response to the documentaries the journalist had made on India's COVID-19 crisis and farmers' protests for Vice News.
(Edited by : Sudarsanan Mani)