Anantnag: In an act of solidarity, 34 Kashmiri journalists working in Delhi and one based in Doha came together to raise Rs 50,000 needed for the surety bond to get photojournalist Kamran Yousuf out on bail.
Kamran was in Delhi’s Tihar Jail since September 5 when he was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) from his home in Tahab, Pulwama.
On Tuesday, an additional sessions judge in a Delhi court granted Kamran bail, dismissing the NIA’s claims that he was involved in stone-pelting and subversive activities in Jammu & Kashmir. The judge granted the bail on two surety bonds of Rs 50,000 each.
“One of the bonds was taken care of by someone, but the other was still left to be paid,” a Kashmiri journalist based in Delhi said.
He said it was just a matter of fifteen minutes that this other bond was taken care of, by the fraternity of Kashmiri journalists in Delhi who immediately came together to do the needful.
“First a few photojournalists working here came forward and offered the receipts of their professional equipment as surety,” another Kashmiri journalist said. The court, however, did not accept the receipt of their equipment as surety, saying that the surety needed to be “registered”.
“We have a loose association of about a hundred Kashmiri journalists working in Delhi. A few phone calls to some journalists ensured that the money was raised in no time,” the journalist said.
He said that 35 journalists contributed money, including one presently working in Doha, for a fixed deposit to serve as surety bond.
“It was indeed a heartwarming gesture, done purely on the basis of professional solidarity for one among us from Kashmir,” another journalist remarked.
The gesture was praised back home as well, with some stringers saying they “feel a sense of protection, howsoever small.”
“The way Kamran was disowned by the very people he put his life on line for, has made us wary and uncertain in so many ways,” a stringer based in south Kashmir told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the gesture by journalists working in Delhi will go a long way in reinstating his and others’ faith in the work they do.
“Not that it has put all our anxieties and our insecurities to rest, but it certainly is a step in the positive direction. If people from our own fraternity stand up for us, we are obviously going to feel a little more secure than we do,” another stringer said.
Kamran is scheduled to arrive home on Friday, after completing the legal formalities in Delhi.