Pulitzer Prize 2020 for coverage of the Jammu and Kashmir lockdown

May 5th, 2020 | Category: Articles

The winners of the Pulitzer Prize for 2020 were declared on Monday, 4 May, with Channi Anand, Mukhtar Khan, and Dar Yasin of The Associated Press winning the prize for Feature Photography for their coverage of the Jammu and Kashmir lockdown. The prize winners were announced virtually on YouTube because of the coronavirus pandemic by Pulitzer board administrator Dana Canedy.

The lockdown in Kashmir, saw a sweeping curfew and no internet access for months on end. Covering the tense climate in Kashmir was obviously a challenging task, and the photographers had to take shelter in strangers’ homes and hide their cameras in vegetable bags. “It was always cat-and-mouse,” Yasin told The Associated Press on Monday.

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AP photographers in Kashmir win Pulitzer⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ The story of India’s crackdown on Kashmir was difficult to show to the world: The unprecedented lockdown included a sweeping curfew and shutdowns of phone and internet service.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ But Associated Press photographers Dar Yasin, Mukhtar Khan and Channi Anand found ways to let outsiders see what was happening last August in the region of 7 million people.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Snaking around roadblocks, sometimes taking cover in strangers’ homes and hiding cameras in vegetable bags, the three captured images of protests, police and paramilitary action and daily life — and then headed to an airport to persuade travelers to carry the photo files out with them and get them to AP’s office in New Delhi.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ “It was always cat-and-mouse,” Yasin recalled Monday as he, Khan and Anand won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography. He added by email: “These things made us more determined than ever to never be silenced.” ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Anand said the award left him speechless.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ “I was shocked and could not believe it,” he said, calling the prize-winning photos a continuation of the work he’s been doing for 20 years with AP.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Click the link in bio to see all of the winning images.⁠⠀ #APPhotos #PulitzerPrize Dar Yasin @daryasinap, Mukhtar Khan @mukhtarap and Channi Anand @channipictures⁠⠀

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He added, “These things made us more determined than ever to never be silenced.” ⁠Anand said that he was left ‘speechless’ and that he couldn’t believe it. Yasin and Khan live in Srinagar, while Anand is based in Jammu.

The Executive Editor of Associated Press Sally Buzbee said the prize for the photography work in Kashmir was “a testament to the skill, bravery, ingenuity and teamwork of Dar, Mukhtar, Channi and their colleagues”.

Kashmiri Muslim devotees offer prayer outside the shrine of Sufi saint Sheikh Syed Abdul Qadir Jeelani in Srinagar.

“At a time when AP’s journalism is of more value than ever to the world, these journalists’ courage and compelling storytelling show the absolute best of what we do,” Buzbee told AP.

It was particularly difficult for the photographers to file the pictures, and so they used people travelling out of the state at courier. They would drop off the photographs at Srinagar airport, and would find strangers who would agree to take the memory cards and drives to Delhi and then contact the AP office. “It was very hard, but we managed to file pictures,” Mukhtar Khan told AP.

Indian paramilitary soldiers break motorbikes parked outside a college as they clash with students protesting in Srinagar against the rape of a 3-year-old child.

The New York Times led when it came to the other Pulitzers, picking up awards for Investigative Reporting, International Reporting, and Commentary. The photography staff at Reuters won the Pulitzer for Breaking News Photography, and the staff at The Washington Post won for Explanatory Reporting.

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