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Last updated: August 22, 2010 at 13:28 pm

Social Media in Kashmir…You can’t believe it? But it’s really happening!

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.

syed ali shah gillani

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?

8 Comments

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  • We need to find a solution asap within the Indian constitution – Kashmir is a part of India and the people of Kashmir must feel the same way without a gun pointing at their head! GOI must win the hearts and minds of the youth in Kashmir – they too must give up violence (stone pelting) and not play into the hands of the Pakistani agents who are just using them to keep things in Kashmir at a boil. Omar Abdulla must hang in – this is a trial by fire for him.

    • What you are suggesting is what all of us peace loving Indians across India as well as the world want. Hope the authorities are listening to that though.

    • Though they are still a long way behind all of us in using these tools but its fast catching up. Truthfully speaking they dont love living in the stone age. Its just that everything is banned there because of obvious reasons. So they have never got a chance to express themselves through this medium. But things are changing.

  • i have a friend in kashmir and i really dont like the way in between i just could not get in touch with him due to curfew and other political reasons. if social media is the only way i can communicate with him then so be it. atleast that way they can stay connected to this world

    • Yes you are completely right. This is proving to be a really useful tool for Kashmiris to reach to the outside world.

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