Three Associated Press (AP) photographers from Jammu and Kashmir were yesterday awarded with the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography for their “striking images of life” following the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.
Associated Press news agency’s photographers Dar Yasin, Mukhtar Khan and Channi Anand has been honoured with the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in feature photography.https://t.co/wihmINcdzk— Franky Tts (@FrankyTts) May 5, 2020
Soon after the journalists from Kashmir were bestowed with the Pulitzer Prize for “letting outsiders see what was happening” inside the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, many Indian celebrities and politicians, most notably, the former Congress President Rahul Gandhi, fell over themselves to congratulate the aforementioned journalists for winning a Pulitzer Prize for showcasing “powerful images of life in Jammu and Kashmir”. The Wayanad MP further added, “You make us all proud”.
While Rahul Gandhi showed eager zeal to congratulate the Kashmir journalists, it is pertinent to have a glance at what the Associated Press President CEO Gary Pruitt said while congratulating the Kashmiri journalists.
“Thanks to the team inside Kashmir, the world was able to witness a dramatic escalation of the long struggle over the region’s independence. Their work was important and superb,” said AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt.
If this wasn’t deplorable enough, the official website of Pulitzer which conferred the prize on the photojournalists went a step further and termed Kashmir as an independent entity whose “independence” was forcibly “revoked” by India.
Announcing the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Feature Photography section, the official Pulitzer website made several problematic assertions about the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. It said Kashmir as an ‘independent” state and a “contested territory of India”, adding that Kashmir’s “independence” was revoked by India through a “communications blackout”.
“For striking images of life in the contested territory of Kashmir as India revoked its independence, executed through a communications blackout,” the description read.
One of the photos that won the so-called prestigious Pulitzer Prize showed a placard raised by a man that read “We dream of Independent Kashmir”, and echoed Pakistan’s stance over Kashmir by describing the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir as “Indian controlled Kashmir”.
Another photo showed a large number of masked protesters with the Pakistani flag in the background. This photo, clicked by Dar Yasin, captioned India’s Jammu and Kashmir as “Indian controlled Kashmir”.
In yet another picture, a Kashmiri stone-pelter attacking a convoy vehicle of the police is shamefully normalised as a “protester” who is merely throwing stones during a protest in “Indian controlled Kashmir”. It may be that a stone is seen in the hand of the person in the Pulitzer winning photo, and the website mentions this fact in the caption of the photo, but still labels him as a protester and not as a rioter or attacker.
While there are several photos depicting action of Indian army on separatists and terrorists, and alleged victims of army action, there is not a single photo which shows the horror of Islamic terrorism in the valley. There is no photo of terrorist attack on civilians and military which was considered worthy of Pulitzer prize.
Despite all these blatantly anti-India assertions made by the Pulitzer as well as the Associated Press President and CEO Gary Pruitt, the former Congress President Rahul Gandhi effusively congratulated the photojournalists, sparking questions among several quarters about the Congress’ stance on Jammu and Kashmir.
Journalist Kanchan Gupta posted a photo of Rahul Gandhi’s tweet congratulating the aforenamed photojournalists posed an uncomfortable question to the Congress party and the Wayanad MP if they endorsed the controversial view of the AP President who branded the terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir as “long struggle for the region’s independence”.
AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said, “Thanks to the team inside Kashmir, the world was able to witness a dramatic escalation of the long struggle for the region’s independence”.@RahulGandhi endorses that? @INCIndia agrees? #India pic.twitter.com/lPsjuM9Qdq— Kanchan Gupta (@KanchanGupta) May 5, 2020
The BJP also slammed the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for applauding the three photojournalists from Jammu and Kashmir for winning the Pulitzer Prize and asked if the opposition party considers the Valley as an integral part of India or no.
Dear @RahulGandhi ji— Sambit Patra (@sambitswaraj) May 5, 2020
You congratulated Mr Dar who received the Pulitzer award today for photography.
One of the photographs is enclosed herewith
The caption mentions “Indian Occupied Kashmir”
Mr Rahul is Kashmir an integral part of India??
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra took to Twitter to lash out at the former Congress President for commending the photojournalists for their patently anti-India work. Patra asked Gandhi what is his official stance on India’s sovereignty over Kashmir.
Blasting out at the Congress party, Patra said on a news channel, “Will Sonia Gandhi answer? Whether she and the Congress party concur with Rahul Gandhi on the issue of Kashmir not being an integral part of India? Rahul today congratulated those who got an award for considering Kashmir as a ‘Contested Territory’!”