In protests across the world against the administration and political leaders, technology has played a vital role – be it in Myanmar, Iran or even China. So why should our very own Kashmir stay behind? Social Media has slowly but surely started penetrating into this explosive pool called Kashmir and surely looks set for a long run.
The recent protests and spate of violence in Kashmir has been not because of the Pakistan influence but more due to the presence of the armed forces. The AFSPA which gives them special sweeping powers like arrest without warrant has always been a cause of concern and now people have come on to the roads and are clashing with the security forces.
Syed Shah Geelani gave a speech against non–violence in the midst of these clashes. A person uploaded a video of this on Facebook and he was very soon swamped with hundreds of comments. Kashmiris are using new media tools to give out information, videos and also mobilize opinion for their movement.
Earlier they used to meet once or twice a week to discuss the strategies of taking the movement forward. But the advent of these amazing media tools has given even a normal young Kashmiri a tool to express his / her opinion freely. Even though the internet connection is low in Kashmir, people are accessing these websites on their phones.
So why does the normal Kashmiri find solace in social media?
- For god knows how long, Kashmiris have been isolated from the mainstream
- A number of restrictions such as ban on forming student unions, blocking text messaging and also draconian laws like the AFSPA act have created tremendous problems between the government and the local people
- The mainstream media has been biased many a time against the Kashmiris in their coverage of events taking place there
All these factors have led the Kashmiris to take to social media really aggressively. The problem for them not being able to reach an international audience is not only because of lack of interest but also due to the fact that this is a clash between a democratic government and its people. This makes it all the more difficult for them to have any sort of success in their Endeavour to make people aware of the problems they face.
But nonetheless, the Indian media seems to have woken up to the ill-treatment of Kashmiris at the hands of the security forces. And this has led to the focus being more on the grievances of the Kashmiris, rather than anything else.
Do you think Kashmiris are right in do this? If yes, how can they reach an international audience by this initiative?