Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Sana Irshad Mattoo, who is from Indian-occupied Kashmir, was stopped by immigration officials at the New Delhi International Airport who barred her from exiting the country — without explanation.
Referring to the incident on Twitter, Sana said that she was supposed to board a flight from Delhi to Paris for a book launch and a photography exhibition, as she was one of 10 award winners of the Serendipity Arles Grant 2020.
“I was not give any reason but told I would not be able to travel internationally,” she said.
She told Al-Jazeera that one of the immigration officials told her that she should seek clarity from Kashmir, which is where the orders came from. “This is insane, there is nothing against me. I don’t understand why I was stopped,” she said.
She said her flight was scheduled for Saturday afternoon, and at passport control, she was pulled aside by immigration officials who told her to wait for three hours. “I kept on asking the officials about the reasons until I missed the flight,” she said.
Sana said that she was stopped by authorities despite having a French visa. Mattoo said she was later told she cannot fly abroad. “But they provided no explanation,” she said.