Immigration authorities at the Delhi airport stopped Aakash Hassan, a Kashmiri journalist, from travelling abroad, citing restrictions imposed by the Jammu and Kashmir police, informed officials on Wednesday (July 27).
Aakash Hassan, who hails from Anantnag district of South Kashmir, was on his way to Sri Lanka on Tuesday (July 26) evening when his boarding pass was cancelled and he was offloaded from the aircraft.
Hassan is the second Kashmiri journalist barred from travelling abroad this month. On July 2, Pulitzer-winning Kashmiri photojournalist Sanna Irshad Mattoo was stopped when she was on her way to Paris to attend a book launch event and participate in a photography exhibition.
Hassan informed on his Twitter handle that immigration officials at the Indira Gandhi International Airport had barred him from boarding his flight to Colombo.
“I was headed to report on the current crises in the country,” Hassan, who writes for the UK-based The Guardian newspaper, said.
He said immigration officials took his passport, boarding pass and made him sit in a room for nearly four hours before an airline official informed him that his luggage had been offloaded on directions from the department.
Immigration officials at IGI airport New Delhi barred me from boarding a flight to Colombo, Sri Lanka. I was headed to report on the current crises in the country.
The immigration officials took my passport, boarding pass and have made me sit in a room for last four hours. pic.twitter.com/G36kx3oYQK
— Aakash Hassan (@AakashHassan) July 26, 2022
“I was questioned by two officials about my background, travel purpose,” Hassan said, adding that after nearly five hours, he was handed his passport and boarding pass with a red rejection stamp that read “cancelled without prejudice”.
Hassan whose father is a teacher, completed his post-graduation from Turkey.
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chief and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said stopping Hassan from travelling abroad came at a time when Chief Justice of India N V Ramana stated that independent journalism was the backbone of democracy.
“It’s no secret that GOI wants to crush the very backbone and fourth pillar of our democracy because of its intolerance to the truth,” she said in a tweet.
Officials in the Jammu and Kashmir police confirmed that Hassan had been placed on a no-fly list.
Earlier, some Kashmir journalists, activists and academicians were stopped at the airport too.
(With inputs from agencies)