Family of photojournalist arrested by NIA fears for his safety

Kamran Yusuf, a freelance photojournalist from Pulwama, was arrested on Tuesday by the NIA on suspicions of stone pelting


Srinagar: The family of a 20-year-old photojournalist Kamran Yusuf are worried for his safety as they are yet to ascertain his whereabouts since his arrest by the NIA, according to a report by the Indian Express.

National Investigation Agency (NIA), a central agency established by the Indian Government to combat terror in India, alleged that Yusuf is involved in stone pelting incidents. A charge Yusuf’s family and colleagues vehemently deny.

Stone Pelting in Kashmir is a form of protest and refers to actions of pelting, bombarding or throwing of stones on the Indian Armed Forces and Jammu and Kashmir Police by the people of Kashmir. The stone pelting people mostly include youth of Kashmir with specific range of age. In the local language, it is termed as “Kanni Jung”, which means fighting with stones and the stone pelters are called as Sangbaaz.

“Eight years ago, we got a call from the local police station, saying that some boys are misleading him. Since then we never received any information from police that he was involved in any wrong activity,” Kamran’s grandfather told the Indian Express.

Yusuf was summoned to the Pulwama police station on September 4 and handed over to the NIA the next day on charges of stone pelting. The agency has taken him to New Delhi.

Kamran Yusuf had been working as a photojournalist for the past three years and contributed to publications like Greater Kashmir, Kashmir Uzma, local TV channels like Gulistan TV and Hyderabad-based news channel Munsif TV and Chandigarh-based channel Gulistan New.

Journalists in Kashmir have held protests in support of Yusuf. The protesting journalists carried banners of “Kamran Yusuf is a Journalist, not a stone pelter”, “Free Kamran Yousuf”, “Fair Journalism persecuted in Kashmir by NIA” and demanded his release.

“Journalists would have never shown support for Kamran if he was involved in stone-throwing,” Kamran’s grandfather said.

“I don’t even know what my son has been trapped into. I have no idea what NIA is and why they have taken away the only person I have in my life,” Yusuf’s mother told Kashmir Reader.

“All I know is that my son is innocent,” she said.

Kamran’s uncle Irshad Ahmad told Indian Express: “We went to meet the local police in Pulwama. They said he is in Delhi and they did not know anything about him. We do not know whom to approach. We are worried for his safety.”

According to the report, an NIA spokesman said Kamran was involved in many stone-throwing incidents. “During investigation, his name surfaced, so we arrested him.”

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