India’s court reserves order on Kashmiri photojournalist

  • Lawyer says Kamran Yousuf’s arrest made to gag media in Kashmir

NEW DELHI: A local court in India’s national capital has reserved its order on the bail plea of freelance photojournalist Kamran Yousuf after his lawyer argued that there was no evidence against him and his arrest was made to gag media in the disputed state of Jammu Kashmir.

India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) has filed a charge sheet against several Kashmiris, one of whom is Kamran Yousuf, in the fake case. Additional Sessions Judge Tarun Sherawat reserved the order for February 19 after hearing arguments from the counsel of Kamran Yousuf and that of the NIA.

The advocate appearing for Kamran Yousuf told the court that there was no evidence in the charge sheet against his client. Kamran Yousuf, a resident of Pulwama, was arrested by the NIA in September last year along with Javaid Ahmed Butt of Kulgam.

“They don’t have any evidence against him. If it’s a crime to cover events in South Kashmir, including police and government functions, then all Kashmiri journalists and photojournalists should be booked,” said Irshad Ahmed, uncles of the victim photojournalist.

He said had the NIA provided evidence that Yousuf was a stone-pelter, they would have kept quiet. “But he’s not a stone-pelter. They are trying to frame him under false charges,” he said, adding that Yousuf being young and eager was trying to make a mark in his chosen field so that he could be employed full time.

“We would sometimes tell him not to work hard and cover every event given the situation in the valley, but he wanted to keep working. It was his passion,” the uncle said, adding that he deserved to be appreciated and encouraged, not arrested and booked under false charges.