Yusuf Jameel was a young, local reporter in Srinagar, Kashmir in 1989, when the troubles began. I was the same age and the bureau chief for Time magazine in south Asia. We worked together on many occasions, and I always knew that when I left town for home and the safety of New Delhi, Yusuf was going staying behind, right in the middle of all the violence and mayhem. He had to live with the contending forces in the valley, none of whom were satisfied with his efforts to simply tell the truth about events. He was even more in the crosshairs than others because his main gig was with BBC. Hardly anyone read Time magazine in Kashmir, but everyone listened to the BBC Urdu service, and Yusuf was their main reporter on the ground.
As Yusuf explain in this lengthy and deeply moving interview in Kashmir Walla magazine, he faced constant threats from all sides, was illegally detained by the Indian army, and faced an assassination attempt when a "renegade" militant brought a bomb disguised as a book to his office. It killed his close friend, news photographer Mushtaq Ali, and severely injured Yusuf.
After a long convalescence, Yusuf is back at work as a journalist in Srinagar, where he lives with his wife and three daughters, all of whom, he says, want to be journalists. He regrets nothing and speaks confidently and inspiringly about the importance of the work he and his colleagues, especially the local reporters, did in the service of their calling as journalists. This interview is a great reminder of courage and sacrifice of journalists covering difficult, violent stories, especially the ones who stay behind.