A day after he was awarded Pulitzer Prize, Associated Press (AP) photojournalist from Jammu, Channi Anand, set out on his routine journey to border areas of Jammu.
“I went to border area near R.S Pura. I left early in the morning for a photoshoot. People in the border areas are busy working in their fields as it is harvesting season. There was lot of checking by the police and the police was also helping people,” Anand said. “I thought to do a photoshoot about all these activities,” he said.
Anand—along with two other Kashmir based AP photojournalists—Dar Yasin and Mukhtar Khan bagged the prestigious Pulitzer Prize on Tuesday for their coverage of Jammu and Kashmir’s lockdown after abrogation of Article 370 last year.
However, the award-winning photojournalists were caught in a political debate after the Pulitzer Prize board congratulated them "for their striking images of life in the contested territory of Kashmir whose "independence" was revoked and "executed through a communications blackout".
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra targeted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for praising the Kashmiri photojournalists, saying that the pictures they had been awarded for depicted anti-India sentiments in Kashmir. "Dear @RahulGandhi ji. You congratulated Mr Dar who received the Pulitzer award today for photography. One of the photographs is enclosed here with. The caption mentions "Indian Occupied Kashmir. Mr Rahul, is Kashmir an integral part of India?" Patra asked.
Anand, however, remains unruffled despite controversies surrounding the award.
“I don’t want to talk about it. We are journalists and our job is to carry on with our professional work,” he says.
“I am very happy and excited that I got the award. My family is also happy.”
Anand remained a stringer with the AP for 16 years before taken on board as a staffer four years ago. He has done his schooling from Shastri Memorial Public School and Ranbir Higher Secondary School before taking online classes in photography.