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Kashmir internet blockade: Lensman struggles to make a living


SRI NAGAR: Muneeb-ul-Islam, 29, a freelance photojournalist from south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, fears he has to trade his camera with a spade.

Jobs are hard to come, especially after the clampdown following the Centre’s decision of abrogation of J&K’s special status. “I lost my livelihood after the suspension of internet services in the Valley,” said Muneeb. “After being in journalism for about 7 years, I was left jobless and had to do labour to help the family.”

After the internet shutdown, he said, he could not send his pictures and videos to any news organisation. Muneeb’s six-member family comprises his pregnant wife, mother, two sisters and a younger brother. Medical expenses of his wife are a concern for him.

Friends, younger brother and relatives have been pitching in to help him in meeting the medical expenses of his wife, he said. Despite hardship, Muneeb hopes to carry on. “I click pictures and do video stories. In the past four months, only one of my video stories on alternative education has been used by a news organisation,”

Local newspapers, he said, are following a ‘No Work, No Wages’ formula since August 5. “Since I can’t send my work to the local newspapers in absence of internet, they don’t pay me,” he said.