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Pulitzer-winning journo denied India entry for ‘travelling to Kashmir’

New Delhi, Dec 28: Pulitzer-winning photojournalist Cathal McNaughton was denied entry back to India on Delhi airport when he was returning from overseas trip on Friday.

According to Home Ministry officials, he had visited restricted areas of Jammu and Kashmir without valid permission. He was denied to enter the country back for violating norms, quoted The Indian Express.

McNaughton, an Irish national, won the Pulitzer Prize in May 2018.

“All foreigners have to respect Indian law and those found in violation are liable to be punished but that does not mean they are blacklisted forever,” a Home Ministry official said in response to McNaughton being denied India permission.

“Everybody has to follow law. For violation, the consequence is the same for everybody. Foreigners should respect Indian law. If any Indian visits abroad and violates the law of that country, he or she is also liable to be punished,” the official said.

“He may be a winner of some awards, but that does not give him the license to violate Indian laws. The Ministry of External Affairs regularly informs foreign journalists about Indian rules and regulations. And in certain places, a foreigner is required to take permission. If you violate these rules and regulations, we are bound to take action,” the official warned.

“If somebody is denied entry, it does not mean that he is blacklisted forever. It may be reviewed after six months or one year,” he said.

McNaughton, Chief India Photographer of Reuters, has been working here and according to reports, he was accused of violating visa conditions, and was sent back from the Delhi airport, even though he had a valid visa.

The newspaper did not specify when the incident took place. However, the Reuters photo directory shows that McNaughton last posted a picture from India on 24 May, six days before he won the Pulitzer Prize in New York.

Most of the photos since then have been from the United States. He has not uploaded any tweet since 1 June, and his bio still identifies him as the chief India photographer for Reuters.

On 26 December, McNaughton posted on his Instagram: “2018 has been interesting. From winning the Pulitzer to being denied entry back into India.”

McNaughton was in Jammu and Kashmir to cover protests that followed the alleged rape and murder of a child in Kathua. (Agencies)