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Kashmiri journalist Kamran Yusuf could face life imprisonment

India’s anti-terror agency says photojournalist is a stone-pelter but media watchdogs say charges are fabricated.

The 22-year-old freelance photojournalist, who has been documenting the conflict in Indian-administered Kashmir, has been slapped with charges of “stone throwing” and “waging war against India”. He has been in jail since then.

Irshad Ahmad Ganaie, Yusuf’s uncle, says the family is still in shock.

“His mother was divorced when he was two years old. Since then, they are living with us. He was just working hard as a photographer in his hometown; he used to freelance with many organisations, and has taken all kinds of photographs,” he said.

Ganaie, 38, says his nephew is being framed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). “He is being punished for his work.”

Journalists in Kashmir, one of the most militarised zones of the world, with more than half a million Indian forces, say threats and intimidation are routine.

According to a report by the International Federation of Journalists, published last November, at least 21 journalists have been killed in the conflict – either directly targeted or caught in the crossfire in Kashmir.

Muneeb-Ul-Islam, a freelance photographer, told Al Jazeera that journalists are caught in the line of fire.

He says that he himself has been “beaten by security forces many times” and had his cameras broken.

Laxmi Murthy, a journalist based in Bangalore and author of IFJ’s report, said the laws, in particular, counter-terror laws, with sweeping and vague provisions, have long been used to stifle the media.

“The arrest of Kamran Yusuf, a working photojournalist contributing to several media outlets, is clearly a violation of press freedom and journalists’ rights,” she said.           Read Full article at Aljazeera

Read More:   Kashmir is Yearning for Peace

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