Shocking! Press Club of India Refuses To Show Film And Photographs On Kashmir

Pellet gun victim SMS hospital August 2019
Pellet gun victim

I was present at this amazing, historical Press Conference at Press Club of India today afternoon, by a team just back from its Kashmir visit from August 9 to 13 with its Report on Kashmir after abrogation of Art. 370. Team consisted of Jean Dreze, economist, Maimoona Mollah, AIWDA, Kavita Krishnan, CPI- ML (Maale) and Vimal Bhai, NAPM. What was indeed impressive was that this team was able to meet scores of people from all walks of life, students, women, shopkeepers etc. from different communities besides Kashmiris, be the first team to venture out of Srinagar to Sopore, Bandipur,Anantnag, Sopian, and the rural areas, take their live audio interviews, photos, make a film despite Section 144 and curfew all over in the presence of about 5 lakh military and para-military forces ( about 1 military person to 10 civilians). What was shocking and painful was to know that the host’s, I.e. Press Club of India disallowed the use of a projector to show the photographs, presentation and film that the Team has prepared.

The main findings of this team, are :

  1. Enormous anguish and anger in the Kashmir valley;

  2. Seven million people are locked in, all of Kashmir including offices, shops, establishments, hotels, schools and colleges, is closed; there is total lack of communication channels of phone, mobile and internet giving the sense of Imprisonment;

  3. Hundreds of young boys have been abducted from villages, their homes or the streets and detained in Police Stations or Army Camps and also those whose whereabouts are not known;

  4. Many well known Political persons are under house arrest and hundreds of political people and youth have been arrested or detained but their numbers and particulars are not known ( except that it is definite that Hamida Naim, Dr. Moonim Shakeel and Advocate Mia Abdul Qayoom are under detention) ;

  5. The Press is muzzled, there are few Kashmiri newspapers with little news but plenty of announcements of marriages being cancelled whereas the Indian TV media is omnipresent with its viewpoint that all is well in Kashmir ( which makes the Kashmiris all the more upset and angry ) ;

  6. Women are angry at Khattar’s derogatory and demeaning remarks about Kashmiri girls;

  7. It is a big lie that Kashmir is not developed, and that Kashmiris are poor, backward and uneducated ; the villages are well developed and the younger generation is highly educated, well aware of Kashmir’s history and its relationship with India;

  8. The impression the team had is that as Kashmiriat has been attacked, the people of Kashmir, irrespective of religion and community, will not take this betrayal and humiliation lying down and united, they will rise again on the basis of peaceful resistance.

Very informative and inspiring Press Conference on Kashmir which was well attended by journalists as well as social activists and students. –

Aurobindo Ghose is a Human Rights Activist




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