SRINAGAR: The special court in New Delhi today again deferred its order in the bail plea of Kashmiri photojournalist Kamran Yusuf who was arrested by the National Investigations Agency in connection with the ‘terror funding’ case that triggered a sweeping crackdown on separatists in the Valley.

“The judge today again deferred pronouncing the judgement on the bail plea when the case came up for hearing at around 2 pm. The order will now be pronounced on February 21,” senior advocate Warisha Farasat, who is defending the photojournalist, told The Citizen over phone.

The court of additional sessions judge Tarun Sherawat had on February 15 reserved the order after hearing arguments from Kamran’s counsel and the probe agency, which had said that allegations levelled against him were “serious”.

In its charge-sheet, the agency has stated that Kamran is not a “real journalist” who “cover (s) development activities by the government, inaugurations of hospitals and schools, and statements of ruling parties,” the chargesheet suggested, evoking condemnation from the Committee to Protect Journalists which called for dropping charges against him.

“India’s National Investigative Agency is way out of its league and has no business defining what ‘a real journalist’ should cover,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Kamran Yusuf’s work taking photographs of conflict in Jammu and Kashmir is a public service in the best spirit of journalism. He should be freed immediately.”

The family of Kamran, 24, who worked with some of the prominent dailies in Kashmir, including Kashmir Times and Greater Kashmir, also strongly reject the NIA’s allegations against him.

“We have got proof to show that he has covered wide range of government and non-government functions, like every professional journalist. The allegations levelled against Kamran are false and baseless,” Irshad Ahmad Ganai, Kamran’s uncle, told The Citizen.

Irshad, who runs a furnishing store in Tahab village of Pulwama district, said Kamran’s mother has been struggling to deal with his absence after his arrest. There is no other member in the family.

“He was two years old when his parents got divorced. His mother, who earns Rs 3000 by working as a peon at a private school, struggled hard while raising him. Now that he had grown up, he wanted to earn and ease their sufferings,” Irshad said.

Kamran, 24, was arrested in September 2017 for his alleged involvement in the so called terror funding case in which nearly dozen middle-rung separatists and a prominent businessmen were nabbed by the agency. He has been accused of participating is stone pelting.

Kamran has denied the allegations, saying that he was present at stone-pelting sites merely because he was covering those incidents while the NIA alleged he was acting as an alleged conduit for those involved in terror funding.