The family of arrested freelance photojournalist Kamran Yusuf from Pulwama said police had told them the 20-year-old has been taken to Delhi and now they were worried for his safety. Kamran was arrested by the NIA on Tuesday. The agency said he was involved in throwing stones during clashes between local youths and security forces.
Kamran’s grandfather Mohammed Yusuf said: “Eight years ago, we got a call from the local police station, saying that some boys are misleading him. Since then we never received any information from police that he was involved in any wrong activity.” He said Kamran had worked for publications like Greater Kashmir, Kashmir Uzma and local TV channels like Gulistan TV. “Journalists would have never shown support for Kamran if he was involved in stone-throwing,” the grandfather said. On Wednesday, journalists from south Kashmir held protests, seeking Kamran’s release.
Kamran’s uncle Irshad Ahmad said: “We went to meet the local police in Pulwama. They said he is in Delhi and they did not know anything about him. We do not know whom to approach. We are worried for his safety.”
An NIA spokesman said Kamran was involved in many stone-throwing incidents. “During investigation, his name surfaced, so we arrested him.”
A senior police officer in Pulwama told The Indian Express that Kamran was recently questioned after he uploaded a video on Facebook showing the Tricolour being set ablaze. “We are yet to know if he was involved in that incident,” said the officer.
According to the NIA, Yusuf was a photojournalist who clicked pictures of stone-throwing attacks on security forces and sold them to newspapers. Sources said he was involved in the incidents too and had also organised groups which would throw stones at security personnel involved in counter-insurgency operations.
The officer added that Yusuf was among 40 people identified by NIA who were regularly attacking forces and organising youths to disrupt security operations.
(With ENS, Delhi)