Kashmiri photojournalist Dar Yasin’s alacrity in rescuing a hurt Kashmiri girl while on duty drew him praise from all over, striking a note not just with Kashmiris but also people across the country and beyond for what many felt was a symbol of hope in the Valley’s troubled time.
On Thursday, Khusboo — a Class 12 student — was one of scores of high-school girls demonstrating in Srinagar’s Nawakadal area when a stone hit her on the forehead. Blood gushed out and her friends panicked, finding no one around to help.
Yasin tossed his camera aside, leapt to Khusboo and scooped her in his arms and rushed to get her a cab to the nearest hospital. The image – of Yasin running with the girl in his arms – was captured by another young photojournalist. His story went viral after HT reported it on Saturday.
Thanks to the quick thinking, the girl got to the hospital in time, was treated and is now stable.
Here is the detailed interview that Dar gave to HT’s Srinagar correspondent, Abhishek Saha:
Tell us about what happened that evening.
We were covering a protest by college girls in Srinagar. Suddenly I saw that this girl, who was protesting, bleeding from the forehead. I took some pictures and then I realised there was no one around to help her. Her friends were panicking.
I left aside my camera and took her in my arms and starting running to see if I can find a car to put her into and take her to a hospital.
I told the girl’s friends that they should not worry because I have two daughters, and she is just like one of them.
What went on your mind when you saw the girl and decided to help her?
It is human nature. You can’t leave a wounded person like that. If you are the father of two girls, or if you are a father of any child, you cannot just see anyone’s child suffer helplessly like that
When I realised there was no one to help, I just decided to help.
Looking back, what do you think?
Looking back, I feel happy that I helped her. Pictures will keep coming.
I guess in any conflict situation, photographers often face such situations.
Of course, it happens so many times. In May 2005, there was a blast (near a school in Lal Chowk in Srinagar). My colleague and I were coincidentally there and I saw a woman badly injured... I went to her and minutes later she died in my arms...
I am not the first one to have done this (help an injured person). There are so many colleagues who would have done the same.
I can tell you there are so many guys on the field in Kashmir who would have done the same just like I did that day.
Dar Yasin, 43, is a staff photographer with the Associated Press in Srinagar and has been covering the Kashmir conflict since 2002. A recipient of at least 15 national and international awards, Dar is the father of two daughters, aged 10 and 7.