SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) – Indian police arrested a freelance French journalist in Kashmir for violating visa regulations, the city police chief said, after he was found filming for a documentary without permission.
Comiti Paul Edward was arrested late Sunday in the Kothibagh area of Srinagar, the summer capital of Kashmir, Senior Superintendent of Police Imtiyaz Ismael Parray told Reuters.
Edward holds an Indian business visa valid until next December, but the visa does not permit him to make a documentary on political or security related issues, the officer said.
A case has been registered under the Passport Act and the French embassy has been informed about the arrest, Parray said.
Edward was shooting a documentary on Kashmir and had met separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, pellet gun victims and captured stone pelting incidents in Srinagar, said a senior police official, who did not wish to be named.
More than 3,800 people have been wounded and one killed by shotgun pellets since protests against Indian rule erupted in the disputed territory last year, with more than 100 left partially or fully blinded, official figures show.
“We called him to ask him about his activities, but he refused to present himself before the police. He was not authorized to film here because he was on a business visa. He was finally arrested,” the senior official said.
Edward had sought the defense ministry’s permission for filming in Kashmir, but was denied because he was on a business visa, said the police official, who is not authorized to speak to the media.
Kashmir is claimed in full but ruled in part by India and Pakistan and has been at the heart of nearly seven decades of hostility between the neighbors.
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