Sunday, September 14, 2014

Kashmir and the Mainstream Indian Media

Post on FB regarding Kashmir floods issue and what TV news channels are doing with it:

Shame on channels that try to use Army relief work in flood-hit J&K to justify AFSPA and Army deployment there! Shame on attempts to use humanitarian work to justify inhumane crimes... 
I am just seething after a phone call from Times Now that asked if I would participate in a debate on how AFSPA and Army were needed in Kashmir, as proved by the relief work the Army is doing there. I said 'Shame on you' and refused. I also asked them if this means AFSPA and permanent Army presence would be ok in, say, Uttarakhand, since the Army did relief work there as well? 
How low can one fall - to exploit a natural calamity and people's tragedy in the face of floods, to justify all that Kashmir has suffered at the hands of armed forces and paramilitary - the disappearances, the mass graves, the rapes, the firing on school boys and youngsters on the streets and in funeral processions...and the total failure of any accountability or justice in custodial killings and rapes... 
Kashmir is facing a natural calamity now. Yes. But the flood of custodial killings and rapes, the flood of tears from eyes of mothers of 'disappeared' Kashmiri youth, is a man-made calamity, one in which the Indian State perpetrated in OUR name, in the name of India's citizens... If we can feel a spark of human empathy for the flood-affected people of J&K now, we should all ask ourselves if we felt any empathy for the families of thousands who lie in mass graves today, or those of the boys killed in firing by police and paramilitary on the streets... The relief work for the man-made, State-made calamity is yet to begin. When can we, the people of India, begin that much-needed relief work in Kashmir, to bring a semblance of truth and justice about the crimes committed in our name, to end the endless siege and daily humiliation there? 
Hats off to the Army personnel for their courageous rescue work - be it in J&K or Uttarakhand or anywhere else. But shame on us if we tell ourselves that relief work gives the same Army a licence to commit custodial killings and rapes with impunity....


My comment:
don't know where all the comments are going... but Thanks Kavita for cutting right through the exploit-Vs-help paradox. YES, all the help one can get during times of calamity is of course needed. Even if Chinese or or US Army came and helped then even THAT would be most welcome : they have way better machinery and could actually save everyone who's stranded there right now.
And, YES, the AFSPA must be revoked. Human rights must be honoured, otherwise we don't have any real country to defend; only an oppressor in its place. Kashmir is today being ruled like a colony by an oppressive, murderous regime PRETENDING to be India. The real India : the one I am proud to be a citizen of, has been hidden away because of AFSPA.

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Related post, this one doesn't go into any balancing or perspectives; rather it's a bare-bones reporting of what's happening on the ground right now:

IMPORTANT:

Pasting here Dispatches from Srinagar, as I received them. READ AND SHARE WIDELY.

Day 4 of Kashmir's worst ever catastrophe, we are back to stone ages, no electricity, no connectivity, the weather continues its scare-mongering while lakhs of our brethren remain marooned. This is turning out to be a nightmare that seems to have no end. Shops that are not inundated are running out of stocks, chemists are running out of life-saving drugs. Scores of Kashmiris have died and God knows how many will meet the same fate.

While Kashmir has been shovelled back to darkness Indian media has unleashed a vehement PR campaign for the Indian State & Indian Army. The way Indian media is portraying them right now must be making people believe that they are supermen who are full of compassion. Yet, the situation on ground is far far from reality, Indian Army was mostly seen evacuating its own men on the 8th of September, and non-locals on the 9th of September. According to Indian media 215 columns are engaged in the rescue op that amounts to about 4300 soldiers roughly, given the troop presence in Occupied Kashmir this number amounts to nothing.

I personally saw CRPF, State Police running for their lives with nothing but their service rifles. The Indian media has essentially started demonisation campaign against Kashmiris portraying us as ungrateful people who fight the same army that is saving them, the lead role in this PR is being played by NDTV, IBN7, Times Now and their valley based lackeys. For example Barkha Dutt's show on 9th evening had representatives from erstwhile oppressors of Kashmir Dogras, the present oppressors PDP, Congress, BJP, the fifth column comprising of the elite class, liberal scum, plus the Indian army and an Indian whose family was stuck in Kashmir.

There was absolutely no Kashmiri representation, in addition to this the host to chose to play the army vs separatist card at this hour of carnage and despair. The media has been doing an unpaid PR for the Indian state and Indian army. The numbers of evacuated are grossly exaggerated and most of those air-lifted are non-locals, Omar Abdullah, corroborated this claim while speaking to Sakal Bhatt atop Shankarcharya Hill.

Civil administration is absolutely non -existent so is the State Police who otherwise are at the forefront of killing, detaining and torturing Kashmiri people. Indian Army and India's NDRF were seen by me with a handful of boats, 1 or 2 in Allochi Bagh, 4-6 in Rajbagh-Jawahar Nagar belt on flood channel end. 3 boats were being used near Tengpora bridge on the 8th of September. How many boats are being used on the Jhelum end or whether that route is even accessible remains unknown.

Most of the relief operations are being carried out by locals using Tractors, trucks and tippers; and Allah knows best how long their fuel lasts. Make shift refuge centres are being run on bridges, fly-overs, embankments and masjid compounds, all of them being run and maintained by locals, this is a glimmer of hope.

WE NEED BOATS, MEDICINES, RATION, FUEL, BLANKETS, BABY FOOD, WE LITERALLY NEED EVERYTHING

The carnage cannot be put into words, it is Al-Nafsi, Al-Nafsi here in Indian Occupied Kashmir.

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