Kashmiri Journalists win Pulitzer Prize for coverage of India’s Crackdown
Three Kashmiri photojournalists operating with the US-based Associated Press (AP) have been awarded the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in the feature photography for images produced throughout India’s harsh military clampdown on Jammu and Kashmir.
The story of India’s crackdown on Kashmir last August was challenging to reveal to the world. The unprecedented lockdown included a comprehensive curfew and shutdowns of phone and internet service.
But Associated Press photographers Dar Yasin, Mukhtar Khan and Channi Anand found means to let outsiders witness what was happening. Now, their work has been acknowledged with the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in feature photography.
Yasin, Khan and Anand snaked around roadblocks, sometimes took cover in strangers’ homes and hid cameras in vegetable bags to capture images of protests, police and paramilitary action and daily life under occupation. Then they headed to an airport to persuade travelers to carry the photo files out with them and get them to the AP’s office in New Delhi, as a tight curfew and communications blockade posed a difficulty in showing the world the atrocities perpetrated in the occupied region, according to media reports.
Dar Yasin and Mukhtar Khan are based in Srinagar, Kashmir’s largest city, while Channi Anand is based in the adjacent Jammu district.
Conflict has widened for decades in Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region that is shared between India and Pakistan and professed by both. The tension hit a new turning point in August, when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist-led government stripped Indian-controlled portions of Kashmir of their semi-autonomy.
India flowed more troops into the already densely militarized area, inflicted a curfew and harsh curbs on civil rights, strapped the area with razor-wire roadblocks, and cut off the internet, cellphone, landline and cable TV service in the state. India said the moves were required to prevent protests and strikes by rebels seeking freedom or Pakistani administration for the region. Thousands of people were detained.
The Pulitzer Prizes, the most prestigious awards in American journalism, have been given out since 1917 when newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer established them in his will. The Pulitzers are generally perceived as the greatest honor that any journalists and organizations can win. In a statement on its website, Pulitzer stated the Kashmiri photographers were chosen for their “striking images of life” in Indian occupied Kashmir.
Among other awards, Alaska-based The Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica gained the Pulitzer for public service journalism for exposing one-third of Alaska’s villages had no police protection. In contrast, the photography crew of Reuters won the breaking news photography award for Hong Kong rallies. The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky, took home the breaking news honor for its coverage of hundreds of last-minute pardons issued by former Governor Matt Bevin. The prize for investigative journalism went to the New York Times’ Brian Rosenthal, who revealed how thousands of New York City’s taxi drivers had their lives destroyed by predatory lending.
Courtesy: Associated Press