Freedom 2.0

M-RaafiMohammad Raafi

In conflict zones like Kashmir, news and information gets buried due to the pressure from conflicting parties, collusion of the news source with various agencies or simply because of lack of will to explore.

With the social media, the chances of the burial of such information got reduced. Now, the power of releasing the information does not lie with an organization or an individual.

In Kashmir, before 2008, it was said everybody knows the reality. It is open; out on the streets, at barbershops gossips, streets and pavements; it is there on every tongue, but no one dared to speak. The hunt for the dissenters by the police and intelligence agencies had made people numb. The protests in 2008 and subsequent use of alternate mediums gave the much-needed confidence to the people of Kashmir, who otherwise had turned quiet due to the spiral of silence and scrutiny.

Lately, at the cost of high risk, websites, blogs, social media services, video banks, e-mail groups, twitter, Facebook are giving a voice to the unheard stories from Kashmir. Even 2010 public uprising was intensely influenced by such platforms.

However, website owners, Facebook page operators, artists and journalists were threatened and abused, their public image destroyed, making the job much difficult. But despite odds, they continue their work.

Now Kashmiris, with great hope, are coming forward with their stories. Kashmir’s young generation is taking to short filmmaking and writing books and other sources to highlight their plea. Government, reluctant to allow Kashmiris voice their concerns, is even trying to sabotage this move.

Earlier, the release of ‘Do You Remember Kunan-Poshpora?’ was stopped and then screening of ‘Children in Conflict Torn Kashmir’ was banned.

In 2013, government didn’t allow the screening of ‘Ocean of Tears’, a documentary on infamous Kunan mass rapes.

However, Kashmiris, every now and then, come up with more alternate sources and platforms to highlight the ‘atrocities’.

In the heart of hearts one prays and at the same time hopes that Kashmiris will break the barriers and come up with stronger mediums and choices to tell their stories. Decency, howsoever, must be the priority!

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