Indian immigration authorities barred Srinigar-based photojournalist Sanna Irshad Mattoo from going to the United States to receive the Pulitzer Prize in a ceremony scheduled for Thursday.
According to the details, Mattoo was stopped at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi despite having a visa and ticket.
Taking to Twitter, Sanna Irshad Mattoo revealed that this was the second time that she was stopped without cause or reason.
“I was on my way to receive the Pulitzer award in New York but I was stopped at immigration at Delhi airport and barred from traveling internationally despite holding a valid US visa and ticket,” Sana Irshad Mattoo said.
“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 a response. Being able to attend the award ceremony was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me,” she further added.
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 traveling internationally despite holding a valid US visa and ticket. pic.twitter.com/btGPiLlasK
— Sanna Irshad Mattoo (@mattoosanna) October 18, 2022
Earlier, in July this year, Mattoo was stopped at Delhi airport as she was going to Paris for a book launch and photography exhibition as she was one of the 10 award winners of the Serendipity Arles grant 2020. She had a French visa but the immigration authorities stopped her at the airport without citing any reason.
India curbing freedom of speech
The U.S. State Department said it was aware of the reports that Mattoo had been prevented from traveling to the United States and is tracking developments.
Pertinent to mention that India is known for violating the human rights of Kashmiris and has also come under fire for its media crackdown.
Earlier this year, Kashmiri journalist Aakash Hassan was blocked from flying to Sri Lanka and in 2019 Gowhar Geelani was stopped from traveling to Germany.
According to media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, India’s ranking in the World Press Freedom Index this year dropped to 150th place from the previous year’s 142nd rank out of 180 nations, in which 1 is the freest.