An Indian photojournalist was denied boarding a plane to fly to New York to accept the Pulitzer award she was given for her coverage of Covid 19. Sanna Irshad Mattoo who works with Reuters was stopped by Indian immigration officials at Delhi airport and offered no explanation.
The photographer had a valid visa and ticket and Mattoo posted an image on Twitter showing the ticket with a red stamp that says ‘cancelled without prejudice’.
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 apparently not the first time that Mattoo has had her travel plans cancelled. In July she was also stopped from leaving India to visit Paris for a book launch. Again she had a valid visa for the trip.
Allegedly the reason for the ban could be political, however. Mattoo is from Indian-administered Kashmir. Despite her images depicting life during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Pulitzer website says that “her work concentrates on depicting the tension between the seeming ordinariness of life and the stark symbols of a menacing militarised milieu of Kashmir.”
Several activists and journalists have been stopped from leaving or entering India this year.
Mattoo says that she was “heartbroken” at not getting the chance to attend the ceremony, describing the Pulitzer as a “dream for every journalist”.