Why are policemen so brutal?: Photo journalist recounts horror and trauma of being assaulted by police
The sight of policemen raining blows on a solitary, unarmed civilian is commonplace. Are they trained to do this or are not trained to exercise restraint?
I was 22 years old when I was falsely implicated in 2017 and jailed for six months in Tihar. I was the first Kashmiri journalist, who was booked under the draconian UAPA. My only fault was that I was doing my job professionally.
One of the charges against me was that I was visiting spots and taking pictures. My mother, who has single handedly raised me since I was two years old and my other family members went through hell. The organisation where my pictures would appear regularly removed my work and literally disowned me.
I didn’t even know why I was arrested. And whenever I recall those moments when I was taken to Delhi, interrogated for weeks and sent to Tihar, I feel lucky to be alive and able to work again. My only defence, which eventually helped me was my professional work. My only aim in life was and is to be a good professional journalist, who is honestly recording the stories of Kashmir.
The suffering that I see and record every day of my professional life has strengthened my resolve to work hard and do my job honestly. And this is why when I was released on bail two and half years ago, I returned to my work immediately.
I have never talked about my own suffering because I think my personal suffering and the cost that I have paid to be a professional photojournalist is very small when compared to what I bear witness every day of my life as a photojournalist.
While I was taking pictures at MarwalKakpora, I was attacked and brutally beaten up by policemen who were accompanying a Deputy Superintendent of Police. I tried to plead with them without any success. If I hadn’t escaped, I have no doubt that they would have killed me. It was a targeted attack on a group of photojournalists and all of us were doing only doing our job.
I have serious injuries. My body feels completely broken. I am in severe pain. Several of my colleagues who were with me at the spot doing our job were also beaten up. I don’t understand why are policemen so violent and brutal.
How can a senior police officer ask policemen accompanying him to target and ruthlessly beat up journalists doing their work? Why is there no accountability for this behaviour?
And most importantly, why are policemen - most of them belong to our own society - so brutal towards us? I am a professional photojournalist and taking pictures/ videos and telling stories is my job.
Journalism is not a crime. Please let us do our job. Please don’t attack us, please don’t beat us up and break our bones.
(Kamran Yousuf, a photojournalist, was among those assaulted by the police on Tuesday. It could have been worse. Reproduced from his twitter thread)