NEW DELHI: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called on Indian authorities, including the National Investigative Agency (NIA), to drop charges against Kashmir photojournalist Kamran Yusuf immediately and to free him.
“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 added.
Yusuf, a freelance journalist based in Kashmir, was arrested on September 7 last year following an FIR levelling charges of terror funding against him.
In observations filed by the NIA in court, the agency had said that Yusuf was “not a real journalist” as he not covered any inauguration, statement of political party or developmental activities of the government, which, according to the NIA is the “moral duty “of a journalist.
The accusations against Yusuf include charges of “stone pelting incidents at various locations in the Kashmir Valley”. The NIA had also said that he was in “regular touch with anti-national elements”.
In January this year, the global journalists body had said, “Indian authorities must stop abusing their power and using heavy-handed tactics to go after a photojournalist who was merely doing his job”.