Three Indian Photo Journalists win Pulitzer for lockdown coverage in Kashmir

Associated Press’s Dar Yasin, Mukhtar Khan and Channi Anand honoured with this year's Pulitzer Prize in feature photography among five from the world over Feature Photography

In the midst of a complete lock down in Kashmir in the wake of abrogation of article 370 and disarming the statehood of the only Muslim governed state of India and even with no internet and telephone services, three photo journalists showed the world their side of stories and won the most prestigious award in the filed of journalism.

Associated Press news agency’s photo journalists Dar Yasin, Mukhtar Khan and Channi Anand have  been honoured with the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in feature photography.

Along with them, two others who got the award in the same genre are Erin Clark from The Boston Globe and Mary F. Calvert who is a freelancer.

The prize winners were announced virtually on Monday owing to the coronavirus outbreak.

Pulitzer board administrator Dana Canedy declared the winners from her living room via a livestream on YouTube rather than at a ceremony at New York’s Columbia University.

In a statement on their website following the announcement, Pulitzer said the Kashmiri photographers were selected for their “striking images of life” in the disputed Himalayan territory.

The Pulitzers are generally regarded as the highest honour that United States-based journalists and organisations can receive.

In an email to Al Jazeera, Yasin and others elaborated how they did the job when everything was being closely watched by Indian army and Kashmir Police and without communication facilities and with so much restrictions.

“Snaking around roadblocks, sometimes taking cover in strangers’ homes and hiding cameras in vegetable bags, we captured images of protests, police and paramilitary action and daily life,”they said in unison.

They then headed to the local airport to persuade travellers to carry the photo files out with them and get them to the AP’s office in the Indian capital, New Delhi.

“It was always cat-and-mouse,” Yasin further said in his email. “These things made us more determined than ever to never be silenced.”

Yasin and Khan are based in Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar, while Anand is based in the Jammu district.

Anand said the award left him speechless. “I was shocked and could not believe it,” he said.

The AP’s president and CEO Gary Pruitt said their work was “important and superb”.

“Thanks to the team inside Kashmir, the world was able to witness a dramatic escalation of the long struggle over the region’s independence.”


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