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Kashmiri Photojournalists Win Prestigious Pulitzer Prize For Last Year’s Kashmir Lockdown Coverage

Dar Yasin, Mukhtar Khan, and Channi Anand.

Two Kashmiri photojournalists Dar Yasin, Mukhtar Khan, and Channi Anand from Jammu have been awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the brutal crackdown on Kashmir last August.

The award was given to the Associated Press journalists from J&K under the ‘Feature Photography’ category.

In August last year, the state of Jammu & Kashmir was placed under a lockdown, when the Indian government abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution, which granted the state a special status, and downgraded it into two union territories.

A masked Kashmiri protester jumps on the bonnet of an armoured vehicle of Indian police as he throws stones at it during a protest in Srinagar [Dar Yasin/AP]

The government’s announcements were followed by a heavy security clampdown, a communications blackout and large-scale arrests and detentions in the state, triggering outrage from across the world.

The unprecedented crackdown, which was the longest in any democracy was difficult to show the world.

Six-year-old Muneefa Nazir, a Kashmiri girl whose right eye was hit by a marble ball allegedly shot by Indian soldiers on August 12, 2019 [Mukhtar Khan/AP]

“But Associated Press photographers Dar Yasin, Mukhtar Khan and Channi Anand found ways to let outsiders see what was happening. Now, their work has been honoured with the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in feature photography,” the news agency announced.

“Snaking around roadblocks, sometimes taking cover in strangers’ homes and hiding cameras in vegetable bags, the three photographers captured images of protests, police and paramilitary action and daily life — and then headed to an airport to persuade travellers to carry the photo files out with them and get them to the AP’s office in New Delhi.”

Pulitzer is widely considered as the world’s most prestigious award for journalism. The awards ceremony was live-streamed on YouTube due to the ongoing coronavirus lockdown.

Both Dar Yasin and Mukhtar Khan took to Twitter to express their happiness on the award.

A Border Security Force (BSF) jawan keeps vigil near the India-Pakistan border, about 35km (22 miles) west of Jammu [Channi Anand/AP]

“This honor continues AP’s great tradition of award-winning photography,” said AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt. “Thanks to the team inside Kashmir, the world was able to witness a dramatic escalation of the long struggle over the region’s independence. Their work was important and superb.”

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