The Editors Guild of India on Monday condemned the “arbitrary manner” in which journalists in Jammu and Kashmir were denied entry to the venue of the Republic Day event in the state on Saturday and demanded an inquiry.

Six local photojournalists were stopped from covering the Republic Day function at Sher-i-Kashmir stadium in Srinagar after the security wing of the Jammu and Kashmir police claimed there was an adverse report from the Criminal Investigation Department about them. This led to other media persons boycotting the event.

“The Guild believes that this is an unprecedented state-sponsored attack on press freedom and demands an inquiry into how such lapses were allowed to take place,” the editors’ body said in a statement. It also sought an assurance from the government that such “reprehensible acts” are not repeated.

The statement said journalists were stopped from entering the stadium despite carrying entry passes issued by the state government’s Information Department. “Equally deplorable is the state government’s earlier decision to deny entry passes for covering the Republic Day function to many other senior journalists,” it said.

The guild said if necessary, “a fool-proof and non-discriminatory system” of issuing entry passes to media personnel should be introduced. The statement was signed by Editors Guild of India President Shekhar Gupta, General Secretary AK Bhattacharya and Treasurer Sheela Bhatt.