NEW DELHI: Sanna Irshad Mattoo, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer , has been blocked by Indian officials from travelling to the United States to accept her award, making her the most recent Kashmiri journalist to face such restrictions. Mattoo was one of four reporters from the news agency who won this year’s coveted prize for feature photography.
The 28-year-old has received praise for his photographs of life in Indian-occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK). At the New Delhi airport late on Tuesday, Mattoo was stopped by immigration officials and denied from boarding while two of her colleagues were allowed to exit the country.Later, she tweeted a photo of her ticket, which said “cancelled without prejudice.”
Mattoo, a fellow of the esteemed Magnum Foundation, said, “I don’t know what to say… for me, this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”The others were permitted to continue, but only I was abruptly halted.. Perhaps the fact that I am a Kashmiri has something to do with it.”
For the second time in a row this year, Mattoo was unable to leave India on Tuesday.She encountered a similar wait in July at the same airport when she was en route to Paris for a book launch and photography show.India has made an effort to solidify its hold on occupied Kashmir.
Since the beginning of the Indian occupation, many have died there, and more than 500,000 soldiers are stationed there on a regular basis.In order to prevent a potential reaction, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration stripped the region of its minimal autonomy in 2019, cutting internet access for months, and imprisoning political figures.
IIOJK has banned foreign journalists, and local journalists based there claim they have been pressured to tone down their reporting.