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Clamour for release of photojournalist arrested by NIA grows in Kashmir

Clamour for release of photojournalist arrested by NIA grows in Kashmir
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The clamour for the release of freelance photojournalist Kamran Yousuf, who was arrested by the NIA last week on the charges of involvement in stone pelting incidents, is growing in the Valley with Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) on Tuesday asking the investigation agency to release him immediately.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), probing terror funding to separatists and militants, had arrested Yousuf and another youth Javed Ahmad Bhat on September 5 over the charges of being involved in “stone pelting incidents besides organising groups of youths who would throw stones at security personnel during counterinsurgency operations.”

However, Yousuf’s colleagues and family dismissed the charges that he was a stone pelter. “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,” his mother Rubeena told reporters in Pulwama.

She is devastated at the fact that she was not even allowed to meet her son once before he was taken away. “What am I supposed to do now? I don’t even know what doors to knock at,” Rubeena laments. “All I know is that my son is innocent. There was no stone pelting case registered against him as well, which can be checked from the local police records,” 42-year-old Rubeena said.

A spokesperson for the KEG while demanding his immediate release said the NIA arrested Yousuf but did not say why, and that this goes against the law in a democratic setup.

Mouzam Bhat, president of Young Journalists Association, who has been spearheading the campaign to release Yousuf demanded that NIA should make the charges slapped against the photojournalist public. “We as journalists want that NIA should make charges public slapped against him (Yousuf). We have not been given anything why he was arrested and it is arbitrary,” he told Deccan Herald.

A group of senior journalist had on Monday raised the issue with the visiting Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Srinagar also. Singh had reportedly assured help in the case and directed MoS in Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh to look into the matter.

The journalists had asked Singh that local police could have questioned Yousuf if he was accused of stone-pelting charges. The media students of Government Degree College in northern Baramulla district also held a protest demonstration inside the college premises against the arrest of Yousuf on Monday and demanded his immediate release.

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