Three months after being denied boarding for a flight to France in July, photojournalist Sanna Irshad Mattoo, 28, claimed in a tweet on Tuesday that she was denied boarding at the Delhi Airport for a flight to the US to accept the Pulitzer Prize at a ceremony in New York.
Mattoo, who is from Kashmir, said that she was stopped despite having all the necessary documents. “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,” she tweeted. She shared a picture of her passport, boarding pass, and a card with the title “The Pulitzer Prizes”.
This is the second time I have been stopped without reason or cause. Despite reaching out to several officials after what happened a few months ago but I never received any response. Being able to attend the award ceremony was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me.”
One of the 10 recipients of the Serendipity Arles Grant, Mattoo was stopped at the Delhi airport on July 2 from travelling to France for a book launch and photographic exhibition. After then, the Jammu & Kashmir Police informed a news organisation that Mattoo’s name was on a no-fly list without giving a cause.
For their coverage of the Covid pandemic in India, Mattoo, Adnan Abidi, Amit Dave, and Danish Siddiqui—who was killed in 2021 while reporting the Taliban’s invasion of Afghanistan—were given the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in the category of feature photography.
Another Kashmiri journalist, Aakash Hassan, was prevented from boarding a flight to Colombo on July 26 at the Delhi Airport. Gowhar Geelani, a journalist and author from Kashmir, was barred from travelling to Germany.