Updated: March 12, 2018 5:13:28 am
J-K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has sought the intervention of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh for the release of photojournalist Kamran Yousuf. “Spoke to Home Minister @rajnathsingh ji to look into Kamran Yousuf’s case. I’ve requested him to intervene so that the life of a young budding journalist doesn’t get ruined,” Chief Minister Mufti tweeted on Sunday.
Kamran, the 20-year-old photojournalist, was arrested by NIA on September 4 last year allegedly for colluding with stone throwing protestors.
In its charge sheet against Kamran, the NIA had said he is not a ‘real journalist’ because he didn’t cover “any developmental activity of any Government Department/Agency, any inauguration of Hospital, School Building, Road, Bridge, statement of political party in power or any other social/developmental activity by state government or Govt of India.”
While the NIA has questioned Kamran’s credentials as a photojournalist, Chief Minister Mufti has taken a contrary view and called him a “young budding journalist” of the valley. Chief Minister Mufti’s call for intervention from Union Home Minister has come as the voices are growing shriller for release of Kamran.
Earlier, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Youth President Waheed-ur-Rehman Parra had asked Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to consider general amnesty for Kamran and other boys. “I, on behalf of Kamran and his mother, who live alone, and on behalf of other citizens request you to extend this gesture of love and acceptance towards Kamran and grant him and other boys general amnesty,” Parra said. “This will indeed be a very positive gesture and a confidence-building measure that most Kashmiris will acknowledge, appreciate and remember”.
Parra had urged the Chief Minister Mufti to take up the matter of Kamran’s release with centre. “On the advice of Government of India, we considered amnesty. Our amnesty was endorsed by GoI. If they are advising us, they could also advise their institutions to consider similar things,” Parra said. “They (Kamran and other boys) are first time offenders and there are no FIRs against these people. Even though the charges labelled (against Kamran) are severe, investigations are not showing much”.
International human rights and journalism bodies have also sought immediate release of the photojournalist. The Committee to Protect Journalists urged central government and NIA to “immediately drop charges” against Kamran and called for his release him.
Though Kamran, a resident of Tahab village in Pulwama, has been booked under stringent sections by NIA, there is nothing adverse against him in police records. J-K police say there is no FIR registered against him in any police station.
While Kamran’s bail plea is in court, there has been no decision from the court yet. There have been more than 18 hearings on the plea in the past six months, but it is not clear when it will be decided. On Friday, when the court heard the bail plea for the last time, NIA came up with a new set of documents, urging the court to examine them.
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