NEW DELHI/WASHINGTON – In a major controversy, the Pulitzer Prize board has questioned India's legitimacy over Kashmir, calling the valley a "contested territory" whose "independence" was revoked and "executed through a communications blackout.”
This year (as reported in India-West), the U.S.-based Pulitzer Prize for best feature photography has been awarded to three Associated Press photographers – Mukhtar Khan and Dar Yasin from Kashmir and Channi Anand from Jammu, "for their striking images of life in the contested territory of Kashmir as India revoked its independence, executed through a communications blackout.”
Jammu and Kashmir has been constitutionally and legally a part of India since 1947 when its princely ruler Maharaja Hari Singh signed instrument of accession which was later ratified by the popular government of the state.
The Central government last year in August revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, bringing it at par with other states of India. In view of threats of violence and terrorism sponsored by Pakistan, the government imposed communication restrictions. However, the Indian media was largely allowed to report and record life through the lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Pulitzer Prize, awarded every year for achievements in Journalism, Literature and Art in 21 categories, comprises a certificate and a $15,000 cash award.
This year, apart from questioning India's sovereignty over Kashmir, the Pulitzer board also stirred another controversy by giving the best commentary award to Nikole Hannah-Jones of the New York Times "for a sweeping, deeply reported and personal essay for the ground-breaking 1619 Project, which seeks to place the enslavement of Africans at the center of America's story, prompting public conversation about the nation's founding and evolution.”
The 1619 Project, initiated by the NYT magazine in 2019, is a series of controversial essays and reports on the history of different aspects of contemporary American life which the authors believe have "roots in slavery and its aftermath." Several U.S. civil war historians like Gordon S. Wood, James M. McPherson and Richard Carwardine have criticized the 1619 Project, for historically misleading and incorrect claims.