NEW DELHI (AP) — A Pulitzer Prize-winning Kashmiri photojournalist says Indian immigration authorities prevented her from flying to the United States to receive the award even though she had a valid visa and ticket.
Sanna Irshad Mattoo was scheduled to fly to New York on Monday to receive the Pulitzer Prize but was blocked by officials at New Delhi’s airport, she said.
Mattoo tweeted Tuesday night that she was “stopped without reason or cause” and her ticket was canceled.
Mattoo was working on assignment for a Reuters team that won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for coverage of the COVID-19 crisis in India.
There was no immediate comment from Indian authorities.
It was the second such experience for Mattoo, who was stopped from traveling to Paris in July for a book launch and photography exhibition as one of 10 winners of the Serendipity Arles Grant 2020. Mattoo said at the time that immigrations officials gave her no reason but told her she would not be able to travel internationally.
She has been working since 2018 as a freelance photojournalist depicting life in Indian-controlled Kashmir, where insurgents have been fighting for the region’s independence or merger with neighboring Pakistan.
Journalists have long braved threats in the restive region as the Indian government seeks to tighten control over the media. Their situation has grown worse since India revoked the region’s semi-autonomy in 2019, with dozens arrested, interrogated and investigated under harsh anti-terror laws.
The Associated Press