Media is “equally responsible” for the present situation in Kashmir as they are “not playing their role in peace, prosperity and communal harmony in the valley”, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has submitted in court as part of a chargesheet. The observation is in the chargesheet filed against freelance photojournalist Kamran Yusuf and 11 others for alleged terror funding and stone-pelting in the Valley.
The remarks came while analysing videos, photos and audio files from Yusuf’s hard drive and phone. The particular remark — aimed at news channels that ran Yusuf’s footage — was made in relation to the video of multiple funerals held in a village after a militant encounter. “The video has been telecast by News GK… Media responsible for uploading such videos also seem not playing their role in peace, prosperity and communal harmony in the valley and by uploading such videos they may be favourite locally, but they also are equally responsible for cause of the present situation in the valley, which it felt appropriate, NIA should communicate to the PCI,” the NIA said in the chargesheet. The NIA also observed in the chargesheet that it is the “moral duty of a journalist” to cover “developmental activity” of the government, as reported by The Indian Express earlier.
Yusuf was arrested last September as he was in “regular touch with anti-national elements” and, the NIA said, his work was a front to “cover up his actual subversive activities”. Yusuf’s bail is pending in the court of Additional Sessions Judge Tarun Sherawat. Analysing a host of videos, the NIA sought Yusuf’s comments on each one, and added its own remarks. For example, in one video, Yusuf is quoted as saying: “This video has been taken at Shopian (Gonowpora). A local boy Aqib was allegedly killed by pellet firing during some incident of stone-pelting.” In the remarks section, the NIA states: “People shouting slogans against India like Goli Maaro Azadi, Pellet Maaro Azadi, Jail Bhejo Azadi, We want Freedom… Aqib tere khoon se inqalab aayega.”
According to the chargesheet, photos present in Yusuf’s phone include: “Active militant Arif who had come to Pulwama, during funeral of other militant” and “Funeral procession of LeT militants (Majid and Shakir) at Pulwama”. However, it is not clear whether these photos were shot by Yusuf. The one clicked by him, referred to in the NIA chargesheet, is of a child holding a toy gun, and is uploaded on his social media page. On these photos, the NIA said, “A large number of photographs and videos regarding anti-national activities covered… are frequently being telecast through their Facebook, GK News online news channel and even through their print media (newspaper).”
Scrutinising Yusuf’s phone records, the NIA said there were 3,000 call logs and 556 contacts with several images and vidoes. The NIA observed that he normally got calls from mediapersons from organisations like Aaj Tak, Republic TV, Mumbai Mirror, Gulistan News. “He is also having contact numbers of some Army/Para Military/ Police Officers/ Personnel,” it said. According to the chargesheet, the NIA asked Yusuf if he had any contact number of a stone-pelter or militant, and Yusuf said, “This is my personal number, neither did I save any such number in this phone nor does anybody call me on this phone.”