India bars Kashmiri journalist from receiving Pulitzer Prize
Sanna Irshad Mattoo has been prohibited by Indian authorities from claiming her prize for her outstanding journalism in New York.
Sanna Irshad Mattoo, a 28-year-old Kashmiri journalist, has been prohibited by Indian authorities from flying to the United States to receive her Pulitzer Prize for her talented work.
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On Tuesday night, Mattoo was on her way to New York where she was bound to receive the prestigious journalism award - however, authorities at the Indira Gandhi International Airport barred her from travel in the Indian capital.
Mattoo was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her role as a Reuters journalist in covering the devastation that prevailed in India last year due to COVID-19.
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
"This is the second time I have been stopped without reason or cause. Despite reaching out to several officials after what happened 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 wrote in a thread.
Mattoo lives in Srinagar, in India-occupied Kashmir. She is one of 4 Reuters journalists that won the 2022 Pultizer Prize in May for Feature Photography for covering the COVID-19 pandemic. It's worth noting that Mattoo holds an Indian passport.
Mattoo's other colleagues were allowed to fly to New York, according to The New York Times, simply for the reason that they are not Kashmiri. Kashmir, located in the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent, has been under systemic crackdowns, surveillance, oppression and state violence since the British empire ceded the territory to India.
Reuters, in a statement, expressed disappointment that Mattoo was not allowed to board the flight, revealing that no explanation from the Indian authorities has been offered yet.
“We have not been offered an official explanation as to why she has not been allowed to leave the country, but we believe that journalists should be able to travel freely,” it said.