War of wits touches new heights in virtual space



At a place ravaged by a political conflict, a new war is ravaging the virtual space, especially for the last two days. It obviously is an extension of the ideological split that the political landscape is undergoing and which was at full display last week when Central Kashmir stayed away from democracy’s most vital process – the elections.

Video grab of dozen men of government forces beating a youth ruthlessly

Now the two sides are using force to convey the message and outwit each other in the virtual world. That obviously has its own impact on the festering situation but nobody seems to be caring.

It all started with three videos that took the virtual world by a storm. The first one, a high definition capsule, showed a group of soldiers ruthlessly beating a young man. The youth is crying like hell as the soldiers are asking him uncomfortable questions about his Aazadi demand. It triggered a fierce reaction across Kashmir, of anger and hate.

Video grab of cops beating youth, asking uncomfortable questions and threatening of shooting them without being accountable

The second capsule, almost accompanying the first one, also with superior quality shows well meaning youth in an armoured Casper vehicle – that is exclusively being used the armed forces to avoid mines and is an imported carrier, being marshalled by soldiers. The video records them being abused and forced to shout slogans against Pakistan.

Seemingly, the third video also is extension of the same incident. It shows a couple of young men without their attire being beaten by soldiers in walled premises. At the end of the of the brief video some cops appear on the scene as soldiers point towards them that they pelted stones at a particular place. They name the places and seek names from these youth being displayed in their birthday suits. Even the cop threatens him by saying “even if I shoot you, nobody will ask me anything.”

Video grab of man seeking apology and denouncing his party affiliations

Commentaries on Facebook and other social websites suggest the incident to have happened somewhere in Budgam. But the impact of the three videos is so grave that people have reacted seething in anger.

Interestingly, a clear photograph of Farooq Ahmad Dar, the Beerwa human shield, appeared within hours after the haphazard video started creating waves. The photo, a clear frontal shot, might have been taken from a very close range.

Barely a few hours after the three videos involving army, rebels make an appearance in Rajpora constituency. They shot at two persons; one of them dies almost instantly. The slain person is somehow associated with the ruling party and police officer. The same night, the militants visited two police officials in Hajipora and Nildoora. They did not harm either of the two families but left with warnings.

Image of Farooq Ah Dar tied to army vehicle 

What was surprising was the appearance of two videos Sunday morning. Recorded with a cell phone, this shows two persons – apparently associated with some political party – denouncing their party affiliations. They shouted slogans against India. They said they stand for tehreekand will continue working for the popular movement. In one of the videos the barrel of an AK rifle is clearly  visible. At the end of the recording, the two capsules show the recorders asking them to shout slogans and they are obliged. In fact, the people who record the video are responding the slogans.

It is obvious that the two videos have been recorded somewhere in south Kashmir. One is perhaps a panchayat member and another is a trade leader.

But the larger story lies between the two recordings. The two forces, which have been in conflict for last many decades in Kashmir, are using force to extract the messages they wish convey to each other. This might be addressing their psyche at some level and may be indicating their strong presence in the ravaged landscape but it surely is not helping Kashmir.


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