SRINAGAR: Kashmir Reader photojournalist Faisal Khan has won the third prize in the Single News category of the Istanbul Photo Awards 2018, organised by Anadolu Agency.
Faisal’s prize-winning photograph showed a female student kicking a police vehicle during the student protests that erupted in Kashmir in 2017.
About 37,000 photos from 125 countries were submitted to the contest. Jury members picked the winners for all categories on March 18-21 in Istanbul.
Faisal said it was an honour for him to be placed among the winners.
Speaking about the winning photograph, he said that it was one Thursday afternoon that he received information about female students protesting in downtown Srinagar.
“After attending the prayers, I called one of my friends and asked him to come with me on a bike to see what the female students were up to,” Faisal recounted. “I reached the spot where the female students were protesting against the police raid on a college in south Kashmir (in Pulwama) in which many students had been injured in police action. The female students were chanting anti-government slogans and then, suddenly, one of the female students was hit by a stone on her head. The stone was reportedly thrown by an Indian paramilitary soldier with a sling.
“This enraged the protesting students and they started hurling stones on paramilitary troops. Soon a police vehicle came and the students started pelting it with stones as well. In the midst of all this, an agitated female student kicked the police vehicle. I was lucky enough to capture the moment.”
Faisal added that the photo was important because he had never seen female students pelting government troops with stones. “The situation taught me many things. I had become emotional when I saw the female student getting injured. But I also learnt that it is important to document, rather than to give importance only to your emotions, while covering news.”
In the Istanbul competition, the Photo of the Year was bagged by Bosnian photojournalist Damir Sagolj, whose striking shot of a dead boy, his eyes covered with leaves, was chosen as the best.
This year’s contest saw 27 photographers from 22 countries receiving awards.
Canadian photojournalist Kevin Frayer won first prize in the Story News category for his series on the Rohingya he did for Getty Images.
The winning photos will be compiled in an annual book and will be shown at exhibits in Turkey and in other countries throughout this year.