Kamran Yousuf would have performed his “moral duty” of covering activities of government and political parties or “social work” events such as iftar parties and blood donation camps by army and other forces if he had been a “real journalist,” the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has said in its chargesheet against the Kashmiri photojournalist.
Yousuf, a freelance photojournalist and regular contributor to Valley’s prominent English daily Greater Kashmir, was arrested last September by the NIA during its investigation into alleged financing of militancy and stone-pelting in Kashmir.
“Had he been a real journalist/stringer by profession, he may have performed one of the moral duty of a journalist which is to cover the activities and happening (good or bad) in his jurisdiction. He had never covered 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,” The Indian Express quoted the NIA chargesheet as saying.
The observations by the NIA are part of the chargesheet into the alleged funding case filed on January 18 against 12 people, including Yousuf. The documents were reproduced Thursday before additional sessions judge Tarun Sherawat during Yousuf’s bail hearing. The NIA also observed that Yousuf was not a “professional” because he did not receive training from any institute.
The NIA also speaks about the “social work” by the Army and para-military forces in the Valley such as organising ‘blood donation camps, free medical check-up, skill development programme and Iftar party among others. “Kamran Yousuf had hardly taken any video of such activity and video or image of any such activity can rarely been seen in his laptop or mobile which clearly show his intention to only cover the activities which are anti-national and earn money against such footages,” the NIA said.
The NIA had filed a chargesheet against Yousuf and 11 others, including Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed and Hizbul Mujahideen head Syed Salahuddin.
The advocate appearing for Yousuf told the court that there was no evidence against the accused in the chargesheet.
“There is nothing in the chargesheet against my client. It only claims that he was in contact with other journalists but does not show any conspiracy with the other co-accused in the case,” advocate Warisha Farasat, appearing for Yousuf, said.
“They are trying to gag the media through his custody. Now, the NIA is trying to teach what journalism means. This is just an abuse of the process of law,” the advocate said.
Yousuf has sought relief saying he was working as a journalist and his presence at various stone pelting sites was merely because he was covering those incidents. The NIA had earlier alleged in the court that the accused was acting as a conduit for those involved in “terror funding.”
“He (Yousuf) was working as a conduit to those raising funds and facilitating their motives. It was all part of a larger conspiracy,” it had said.