Three Kashmiri journalists win Pulitzer for coverage of India’s lockdown

Mukhtar Khan, Channi Anand and Dar Yasin were honoured for their "striking images of life" in the disputed territory


AGENCIES May 05, 2020
PHOTO: Pulitzer.org/Mukhtar Khan

NEW YORK: Three Kashmiri photojournalists working with the US-based Associated Press (AP) have been awarded the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in the feature photography for images made during India’s harsh military clampdown on Jammu and Kashmir.

AP photographers Dar Yasin, Mukhtar Khan and Channi 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.

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The Pulitzers are generally regarded as the highest honour that US journalists and organisations can receive. In a statement on its website, Pulitzer said the Kashmiri photographers were selected for their “striking images of life” in Indian occupied Kashmir.

 

Six-year-old Muneefa Nazir, a Kashmiri girl whose right eye was hit by a marble ball shot allegedly by Indian Paramilitary soldiers on Aug. 12, stands outside her home in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Sept. 17, 2019. (Mukhtar Khan) Kashmiri men shout freedom slogans during a protest against New Delhi's tightened grip on the disputed region, after Friday prayers on the outskirts of Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Friday, August 23, 2019 - Dar Yasin. Photo: Pulitzer.org

 

Six-year-old Muneefa Nazir, a Kashmiri girl whose right eye was hit by a marble ball shot allegedly by Indian Paramilitary soldiers on Aug. 12, stands outside her home in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Sept. 17, 2019. (Mukhtar Khan) Six-year-old Muneefa Nazir, a Kashmiri girl whose right eye was hit by a marble ball shot allegedly by Indian Paramilitary soldiers on Aug. 12, stands outside her home in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, September 17, 2019 - Mukhtar Khan. Photo: Pulitzer.org

 

An elderly Kashmiri man sits outside a closed market during a strike in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019. (Dar Yasin/Photo: Pulitzer.org) An elderly Kashmiri man sits outside a closed market during a strike in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Sunday, February 17, 2019 - Dar Yasin. Photo: Pulitzer.org

Yasin and Khan are based in Srinagar, while Anand is based in the Jammu district. Anand said the award left him speechless, according to AP news agency. “I was shocked and could not believe it,” he was quoted as saying.

 

An Indian paramilitary soldier orders a Kashmiri to open his jacket before frisking him during curfew in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Aug. 8, 2019. The beautiful Himalayan valley is flooded with soldiers and roadblocks of razor wire - Dar Yasin. Photo: Pulitzer.org An Indian paramilitary soldier orders a Kashmiri to open his jacket before frisking him during curfew in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, August 8, 2019 - Dar Yasin. Photo: Pulitzer.org

“It was always cat-and-mouse. These things made us more determined than ever to never be silenced,” said Yasin – an engineering graduate from a family of celebrated photojournalists. Yasin had previously won the inaugural Yannis Behrakis International Photojournalism Award last year.

An Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldier keeps vigil near the India Pakistan border at Garkhal in Akhnoor, about 35 kilometers (22 miles) west of Jammu, India, Tuesday, Aug.13, 2019. (Channi Anand) An Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldier keeps vigil near the India Pakistan border at Garkhal in Akhnoor, about 35 kilometers (22 miles) west of Jammu, India, Tuesday, August 13, 2019 - Channi Anand. Photo: Pulitzer.org

 

Among other awards, Alaska-based The Anchorage Daily News, and ProPublica won the Pulitzer for public service journalism for revealing one-third of Alaska’s villages had no police protection, while the photography staff of Reuters won the breaking news photography award for Hong Kong protests.

 

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 reporting went to the New York Times’ Brian Rosenthal, who uncovered how thousands of New York City’s taxi drivers had their lives ruined by predatory lending.

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The Pulitzer Prizes, the most prestigious awards in American journalism, have been handed out since 1917, when newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer established them in his will. Monday’s announcement had been postponed for two weeks because some journalists on the 18-member Pulitzer board were busy covering the coronavirus pandemic.

In normal years, the prizes are announced at Columbia University in New York. On Monday, Dana Canedy, who administers the Pulitzers, delivered the news from her living room via video, after weeks in which board members hashed out the finalists and winners remotely.

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“Ironically, the very first time the Prizes were presented was June 1917 — less than a year before the 1918 outbreak of the Spanish Flu pandemic,” Canedy said. “During this season of unprecedented uncertainty, one thing we know for sure is that journalism never stops.”

 

 

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