The Committee to Protect Journalists urged India on Friday to immediately drop charges against arrested Kashmiri photojournalist Kamran Yusuf and release him. The organisation, which works for press freedom globally, said Yusuf’s works are “public service in the best spirit of journalism”.
On Thursday, the National Investigation Agency had produced a chargesheet against Yusuf in a Delhi court, saying that Yusuf was not a “real journalist”. A “real journalist” should cover development activities by the government, inaugurations of hospitals and schools, and statements of ruling parties, the chargesheet suggested.
“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 Yusuf’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.”
Yusuf, 24, was arrested in September 2017 for his alleged involvement in “stone-pelting incidents”. He has been in police custody ever since. The court was hearing his bail petition on Thursday.
While Yusuf said he was present at stone-pelting sites merely because he was covering those incidents, the NIA alleged he was acting as a conduit for those involved in terror funding. The court will next hear Yusuf’s bail plea on Monday.