NIA Court reserves order on photojournalist’s bail plea

NIA Court reserves order on photojournalist’s bail plea
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Verdict likely today

SRINAGAR: The special court of National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday reserved its order in a bail plea moved by Kashmiri photo-journalist, Kamran Yousuf.
The NIA court at Patiala House Court Complex in New Delhi heard the objections filed by the NIA counsel against Kamran, a 20-year-old photo-journalist from Pulwama.
A source in the know of the case told Kashmir Reader that the court of Poonam A Bamba heard the objections by NIA but reserved its order.
J&K police arrested Kamran on September 5, 2017 from his house in Pulwama. He was subsequently handed over to NIA, which is investigating an alleged case of foreign funds for “subversive activities in Jammu and Kashmir”.
“The NIA is repeating the same line that he was allegedly involved in stone pelting,” the source said.
Kamran had moved his bail plea on November 17 and the court heard his counsel’s plea on December 14 for at least 90 minutes.
“We are expecting an order from the court on Thursday,” a relative of Kamran said.
J&K police have clarified that there was no FIR against Kamran. “But there are certain FIRs registered against others where we are trying to establish if he had any role. That is being verified,” SSP Pulwama had said after Kamran’s arrest.
In its defence, sources said, “Kamran’s lawyer submitted hundreds of newspaper clippings, documents, letters and IDs provided by the Election Authority of India, to emphasise that Kamran was a bonafide journalist and had nothing to do with stone-pelting,” a source closely following Kamran’s case said.
“The court was told that Kamran only covered protests and stone-pelting incidents as a professional journalist. The court was told that Kamran also covered functions hosted by the Indian army and those held by state authorities.”
Lawyers believe that there “was nothing on record against Kamran from the NIA side”. “NIA has only been seeking extension of his judicial custody,” the sources said.
The source said that the defence counsel of Kamran argued in the court that even as Kamran was not involved in any stone-pelting case, “this charge (against him) does not come under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA)”.
The young photo-journalist shot to fame during 2016 public uprising after he went on the spots where protests were held and his photos and videos went viral.
Accused of taking money, Kamran’s single mother told a newspaper: “Kamran had three bank accounts — two of them were closed long back because of no transactions. The only operational bank account has Rs 1,900 in it.”