Freelance photojournalist Kamran Yousuf was among those arrested by India’s National Investigative Agency. Kamran’s work has appeared in local Kashmiri newspapers and international publications as well.
Kamran Yousuf has done some significant work while risking his life during his reporting stints. He has been one of the first photojournalists to cover funerals of armed fighters and protest demonstrations in some of the most hostile areas of the region. While news-organisations were non-hesitant to use his work during those times, they have preferred a radio silence on his detention.
Below is a timeline of events right from the arrest of Kamran Yousuf till now when NIA recently mentioned his name in the submitted charge sheet.
4 September 2017: Kamran Yousuf, a freelance photojournalist working for leading local daily Greater Kashmir, received a call from the local police station to report himself at the said police station. Kamran went to the police station where he was detained and later handed over to National Investigation Agency (NIA). This was the first time the NIA has arrested people allegedly involved in stone-pelting incidents. NIA had alleged that Kamran was wanted in many cases.
5 September 2017: Journalists and photojournalists from South Kashmir staged a protest outside DC office Pulwama.
7 September 2017: After With Kashmir wrote an editorial about the criminal silence of Media Corporations in Kashmir, Greater Kashmir (GK) removed GK lensman from a news report about Kamran dated March 2017. After this shameful act, GK removed the news report from its website.
The screenshot for this story when searched on Google clearly shows that the story was published on March 04, 2017 with the title suggesting that The Daily Greater Kashmir owns this lensman and condemns his beating by the security forces.
9 September 2017: A handful of journalists, some new faces in photojournalism and few kids held placards and protested for few minutes in Mushtaq Ali press enclave.
Later in the evening, the Kashmir TV Journalists Guild, Kashmir Journalist Core, Kashmir Video Journalists Association and Kashmir Press Photographers Association issued a joint statement requesting the NIA to come clear on the charges for which Kamran Yousuf was arrested. All the associations in the meeting decided to hold a joint symbolic sit-in protest, the date of which will be decided at the next joint meeting. This was done in wake of Indian Home ministers four-day visit to the valley for all journalists will be busy.
10 September 2017: On his Kashmir visit, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh assured help in the case of photojournalist Kamran Yousuf arrested by National Investigation Agency (NIA) after he was questioned by some local journalists in his presser. Rajnath Singh directed MoS in Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh to look into the matter.
11 September 2017: An association of journalists under the banner name of Kashmir Young Journalists Association staged a protest at Mushtaq Ali press enclave asking “Is clicking photographs a crime?”
On the same day, some 50kms away from capital city Srinagar students of Government Degree College Baramulla on Monday held a protest demonstration inside the college premises against the arrest of photojournalist Kamram Yousuf by NIA and. The students demanded an immediate release of Kamran and condemned his arrest.
13 September 2017: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) issued a statement reading “Indian authorities should immediately release Kamran Yousuf, a freelance photojournalist who was working in the Jammu and Kashmir region and has been held without charge since September 4,”. CPJ is a New York-based non-profit organization working to promote press freedom and defend rights of a journalist.
14 September 2017: The Press Council of India (PCI) has served a notice on the NIA, Jammu and Kashmir police chief and the state chief secretary, expressing concern over the arrest of Kamran Yousuf. The PCI has sought replies from the agency and the officials within two weeks.
Initially, Kamran Yousuf was sent to NIA custody until 16 September.
17 September 2017: NIA custody of Kamran Yousuf was extended by one month till 17 October in NIA court by District judge Poonam A Bamba.
16 October 2017: IGP Kashmir Muneer Khan told the press “Kamran Yousuf wasn’t arrested by National Investigation Agency (NIA) but he was arrested by the Police over his involvement in stone pelting especially in the year 2016.”
31 October 2017: SP Pulwama, Chowdhary Mohammad Aslam contradicted IGP Muneer Khan’s claims, saying there is no case registered against Kamran Yousuf. On 16 October IGP Kashmir had said Kamran was arrested by police for his involvement in stone pelting. SP Pulwama had said police was investigating a video uploaded by Kamran on Facebook. The video showed tricolour being burnt by protestors in Karimabad village of South Kashmir.
04 December 2017: Kamran Yousuf’s counsel applied for bail before the special judge at Patiala House Court complex in New Delhi. Earlier his counsel had moved his bail application before judge Poonam A Bamba on November 17. The next date of hearing was set for December 14, 2017.
13 December 2017: Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) included Kamran Yousuf in its list of journalists jailed in its annual report. Earlier CPJ had asked Indian authorities to release Kamran
03 January 2018: Kamran Yousuf was produced in a Delhi court where his bail was kept pending till next hearing.
04 January 2018: Kamran wrote a letter to his family, friends and well-wishers asking for prayers saying “only prayers from people can get him out of hell he is in ( referring to NIA custody)
18 January 2018: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday filed a charge sheet against 12 persons, including Kamran Yousuf in a case related to alleged funding of terror and anti-state activities in the Kashmir Valley. Charge sheet includes names of Lashkar-e-Taiba (Let) chief Hafeez Saeed and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen head Syed Salahuddin and former JKLF commander Bitta Karate.
19 January 2018: CPJ issues another statement on Kamran’s arrest. “Indian authorities must stop abusing their power and using heavy-handed tactics to go after a photojournalist who was merely doing his job. Kamran Yousuf has already unjustly spent four months in jail and should be released immediately.”
Kamran being felicitated for his work as photojournalists on different occasions:
Some of the exceptional photographs that Kamran clicked.
In August 2017, He was among the list of emerging photographers in Kashmir.
“Indian authorities must stop abusing their power and using heavy-handed tactics to go after a photojournalist who was merely doing his job,” said CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Steven Butler, in Washington, D.C. “Kamran Yousuf has already unjustly spent four months in jail and should be released immediately.”
The National Investigation Agency submitted the charge sheet to Delhi’s Patiala House Court, which is due to hear the agency’s request to continue with its inquiry on January 30, according to Scroll.
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