Photojournalist Sanna Irshad Mattoo on Tuesday won the Pulitzer Prize becoming the first woman from Jammu and Kashmir to get the prestigious prize in journalism.
Mattoo, 28, part of the Reuters team along with three male Indian journalists, Adnan Abidi, Amit Dave and late Danish Siddiqui, who was killed during the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in 2021, were awarded the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in the feature photography category for their coverage of the Covid pandemic in India.
The Pulitzer website states that they were awarded for "images of Covid's toll in India that balanced intimacy and devastation, while offering viewers a heightened sense of place".
Mattoo's picture showed a healthcare worker administering a dose of CoviShield, a coronavirus disease vaccine, to a shepherd during a vaccination drive in Lidderwat, Anantnag district, on 10 June 2021. Despite repeated attempts, Mattoo could not be contacted.
"Ranging from ground-breaking news to in-depth storytelling, her work concentrates on depicting the tension between the seeming ordinariness of life and the stark symbols of a menacing militarised milieu of Kashmir," said the Pulitzer website about Mattoo.
She presently contributes to Reuters as a multimedia journalist.
In 2020, three Indian photojournalists from the union territory, Dar Yasin, Mukhtar Khan and Channi Anand bagged the Pulitzer Prize in feature photography.
Mattoo, a photojournalist from Srinagar and documentary photographer according to her Twitter profile, was Magnum Foundation's Photography and Social Justice Fellow in 2021.
She has done her post-graduation in convergent journalism from the Central University of Kashmir and her works have appeared in many international publications like Al Jazeera, TIME, TRT World and South China Morning Post.
Her win has flooded social media with congratulatory messages.
People's Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti tweeted, "It's not easy to be a journalist in J&K. Congratulations @mattoosanna for winning the Pulitzer & making us proud."
"Kashmiri woman wins a Pulitzer in photojournalism. I don't remember being this happy and proud in a long time," wrote Farah Bashir, author of the memoir, Rumours of Spring - A Girlhood in Kashmir (April 2021)
Journalist Federation of Kashmir in a tweet said, "Congratulations to @mattoosanna and team for winning @PulitzerPrizes in Feature Photography. Kashmiri journalists have time and again demonstrated courage and professionalism through meaningful storytelling and the award at a time when journalists in the region are dealing with gruelling challenges comes as a relief".