Srinagar: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called on Indian authorities and the National Investigative Agency (NIA) to immediately drop charges against photojournalist Kamran Yousuf and order his release.
“India’s National Investigative Agency is way out of its league and has no business defining what ‘a real journalist’ should cover,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator.
“Kamran Yousuf’s work taking photographs of conflict in Jammu and Kashmir is a public service in the best spirit of journalism. He should be freed immediately,” he said.
Yousuf, a freelance photojournalist from Pulwama, has been imprisoned since September 5, 2017. He was formally charged on January 18 with sedition, criminal conspiracy, and attempting to wage war against India. His case and plea for a bail will be heard on February 19. Documents submitted by the NIA in court on Thursday argued that Yousuf was not a “real journalist/stringer by profession” because he had not received formal training or covered “developmental activity” in the region, according to news reports.
Yousuf’s work shows his intentions “to only cover the activities which are anti-national and earn money against such footages,” the documents submitted to the court by the NIA allege.