SRINAGAR: Kashmir’s two photo-journalists Dar Yasin and Mukhtar Khan bagged the most coveted prize in journalism, the Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of Kashmir post-August 5, it was officially announced.
The two Associated Press photographers joined Channi Anand, also from AP in getting the joint award. Anand works for the global news gatherer from Jammu. The award was given to the trio from Jammu and Kashmir under ‘feature photography’ category.
“It was a group entry that our office in New York had filed,” an excited Dar Yasin told Kashmir Life, moments after the awards were announced in New York.
Yasin started his career as a videographer in 2004 as a freelancer with the AP. In 2006, he joined the agency as a full-fledged photographer. During his around 16 years of career, Dar Yasin has covered the developments across Kashmir and has flown out to cover the Rohingya crisis, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and other places.
Mukhtar Khan, his colleague, who is part of the group, has been working with the AP since 2000. He has been covering Kashmir throughout.
Anand is their colleague who covers the developments in Jammu for the AP.
Thank you Colleagues, friends, brothers. I would just like to say thank you for standing by us always. It’s an honour and a privilege beyond any we could have ever imagined. It’s overwhelming to receive this honor.
— Dar Yasin (@daryasin) May 4, 2020
The photographs for which the three AP newsmen were awarded are about the life in the lockdown after the undoing of the special status to Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019. The Pultizer jury termed their photographs as “striking images of life” in post-August 2019 Kashmir “executed through a communications blackout”. Jointly the honour carries the US $ 15000.
Pulitzer is the world’s most prestigious award for journalism. Though most of the American media has always had an edge, in certain international categories, non-native Americans also get the recognition for their works. The Pulitzers are generally regarded as the highest honour that US-based journalists and organizations can receive.
Usually held at Columbia University in New York City, due to the Coronavirus pandemic this year’s Pulitzer announcement took place in Pulitzer administrator Dana Canedy’s living room and being live-streamed via YouTube.
The Pultizer Organisation gave following details about the AP trio in Jammu and Kashmir.
Channi Anand is based in Jammu, a strategic location not far from the India-Pakistan border that experiences frequent cross border violence. Seeing people flee their homes has become routine but it still affects him each time he covers stories of displacement. He has followed political developments between the neighbours relentlessly for the Associated Press since 2000.
After more than two decades in the field, Channi now finds himself at home working on social issues, natural calamities, live encounters between security forces and terrorists or the extreme weather conditions that is harshest for the homeless. He has also travelled to work on a story on Siachin Glacier, the highest battleground in the world. He lives with his wife and two children.
Anti-Hindu, anti-India alert! Pulitzer Prize was granted to photographers promoting terrorism and violence inside India.
We are requesting the Pulitzer Prize committee to immediately rescind this award that promotes hatred and violence and lies. Shame.https://t.co/ga1vxrZuHn
— Indian-Americans (@HinduAmericans) May 4, 2020
Mukhtar Khan was born and brought up in the Indian portion of Kashmir, where he has lived all his life. In his over two-decade-long career, he has extensively covered the region–following the Kashmir conflict on a daily basis, the 2005 earthquake that shook his region, stories between the nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan, along with other major stories that unfold in his beat.
Dear colleagues and friends I just want to say Thank you and that this award @PulitzerPrizes an honor for us. I could never have imagine in my life time. it could have also been impossible without my family – both at home and AP Thank you for always sanding by us.
— mukhtar khan (@muukhtark_khan) May 4, 2020
Through it all, Khan has focused on the daily life of war-torn Kashmir. He started working with the Associated Press in 2000 before joining the organization fulltime in 2004. He won an Atlanta Photojournalism Award in 2015.
Dar Yasin, born in 1973, in Indian Kashmir. Studied bachelor’s in computer science and technology in South of India. Dar has extensively covered the Kashmir conflict, the South Asia Earthquake and its aftermath, and the historical opening of the bus route between divided Kashmir.
On assignment in Afghanistan, he has covered the Afghan War, Afghan Refugees and Daily life of war-torn Afghanis. Dar has also covered the Rohingya refugee crisis who fled large- scale violence and persecution in Myanmar. His works have appeared in all the major newspapers and news magazines around the globe. Dar’s work has earned him dozens of international photo awards.