NIA Says Kamran Yousuf is Not a Real Journalist
New Delhi: Kamran Yusuf, a Kashmiri freelance photojournalist, was arrested by NIA in September last year on charges of stone-pelting and instigating violence. Additional Sessions Judge Tarun Saharawat heard Yusuf’s bail application in the NIA Special Court in Delhi on Thursday.
While the NIA has been delaying presenting the defence lawyers with crucial evidence they are citing as grounds for rejection of bail, they also alleged that Kamran is not a real journalist.
The NIA has declared Yusuf to be a threat to national security. But journalist groups in Kashmir, as well as the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), are calling this an attempt to gag the media and intimidate journalists.
Yusuf’s advocate, Warisha Farasat, argued in court that the charge sheet does not show any strong evidence against the photojournalist Kamran, and is not grounds for rejection of bail. NIA has also presented statements of protected witnesses as a reason for denying bail.
However, the NIA has refused to share these statements with the defense lawyers saying that since the identity of protected witnesses cannot be revealed, the law gives them the authority to withhold these statements.
Warisha argued that they have the right to see these statements as they are the only basis on which the bail order is being reserved. The judge instructed the public prosecutor to provide the witness statements to the defence with satisfactory measures taken for protecting their identity.
NIA responded saying that certain procedures would have to be followed before these statements can be provided. The court has given them time till 19th February for the same. Otherwise, the bail order will be passed without consideration of the statements, looking at only the evidence given in the charge sheet.