Stopped from flying abroad, says Pulitzer-winning Kashmiri photojournalist

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Kashmir’s first Pulitzer Prize winning woman photojournalist, Sanna Irshad Mattoo on Saturday claimed that she was stopped by the authorities at the Delhi airport from traveling to France for a book launch and photography exhibition.

Mattoo, 28, said that she was scheduled to travel from Delhi to Paris today for a book launch and photography exhibition as one of 10 award winners of the Serendipity Arles grant 2020.

“Despite procuring a French visa, I was stopped at the immigration desk at Delhi airport,” she said in a tweet.

“I was not given any reason but told I would not be able to travel internationally,” she said.

Talking to HT, Mattoo said that she was still at the airport trying to get answers. “It was just shocking for me and I am unable to understand why I am being stopped,” she said.

“I am provided with no reason on why I was not allowed,” she said.

She said that she also contacted police in Kashmir. “There is no history or any case. I tried to contact CID office and police in Kashmir who said that I have nothing adverse here, there is no case,” she said.

In May, Mattoo won the Pulitzer Prize becoming the first woman from Jammu and Kashmir to get the prestigious prize in journalism.

Mattoo, part of the Reuters team along with three male Indian journalists, Adnan Abidi, Amit Dave and late Danish Siddiqui, who was killed during the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in 2021, were awarded the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in the feature photography category for their coverage of the Covid pandemic in India.

They were awarded for “images of Covid’s toll in India that balanced intimacy and devastation, while offering viewers a heightened sense of place”.

Mattoo’s picture showed a healthcare worker administering a dose of CoviShield, a coronavirus disease vaccine, to a shepherd during a vaccination drive in Lidderwat, Anantnag district, on June 10, 2021. Officials in the Jammu and Kashmir police confirmed that Mattoo had been placed on a no-fly list.

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