Three photojournalists from J&K win 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Feature Photography

Three photojournalists from Jammu and Kashmir are among the winners of this year’s Pulitzer Prize. Among the three, two are from Kashmir Valley while one is from Jammu region.

Mukhtar Khan, Yasin Dar and Channi Anand — all three photojournalists working with the Associated Press (AP) — were among those who were awarded the Pulitzer last night.

They have been conferred the Prize for their work during the shutdown in the erstwhile State after the region was stripped off its special status with the abrogation of Article 370 in August last year.

The journalist fraternity in J&K had been facing difficulties after the August 05 decision as all the communication channels were banned amid a strict lockdown in the region, especially in the Kashmir valley. Journalists had to wait for hours together at the lone ‘Media Facilitation Centre’ in Srinagar in order to file their stories and other related content with their respective organizations.

Three photojournalists from J&K win 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Feature Photography (4)
(Left) Mukhtar Khan (Middle) Yasin Dar (Right) Channi Anand

Both broadband and mobile internet was barred in the region for more than six months, crippling the activities of the journalist community in the Valley.

Meanwhile, congratulatory messages have been pouring in for the photojournalists from various quarters. The social media is also abuzz, with messages appreciating their hard work during, what many called “difficult times.”

Congress MP, Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “Congratulations to Indian photojournalists Dar Yasin, Mukhtar Khan and Channi Anand for winning a Pulitzer Prize for their powerful images of life in Jammu & Kashmir. You make us all proud.”

Three photojournalists from J&K win 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Feature Photography
An Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldier keeps vigil near the India Pakistan border at Garkhal in Akhnoor, about 35 kilometers (22 miles) west of Jammu, India, Tuesday, Aug.13, 2019. (Photo By Channi Anand)

“It’s been a difficult year for journalists in Kashmir & that’s saying something considering the last 30 years haven’t exactly been easy. Congratulations to @daryasin, @muukhtark_khan & @channiap on this prestigious award. More power to your cameras,” National Conference leader, Omar Abdullah said in a tweet.

Iltija Mufti, daughter of PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, while congratulating the photojournalists, said the scribes from the union territory were winning accolades abroad but are punished back home.

The journalist fraternity has also hailed the first Pulitzer winners from Jammu and Kashmir. “A proud moment for all in our tribe across Jammu and Kashmir and beyond,” veteran journalist from Kashmir, Yusuf Jameel said.

Three photojournalists from J&K win 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Feature Photography
Relatives of Shujaat Bukhari, slain editor-in-chief of the Srinagar based English language daily newspaper Rising Kashmir, mourn near his coffin during a funeral procession at Kreeri. Photo by Dar Yasin

It is in place to mention that the Pulitzer Prize is an award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature, and musical composition in the United States. It was established in 1917 by provisions in the will of Joseph Pulitzer, who had made his fortune as a newspaper publisher, and is administered by Columbia University.

The Prizes are awarded yearly in twenty-one categories. In twenty of the categories, each winner receives a certificate and a US$15,000 cash award (raised from $10,000 in 2017).

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