Posts Tagged ‘YouTube’

Sunday, Jul 14, 2013, 7:54 IST | Agency: DNA Yolande D’Mello

Kashmiri rappers have been forced underground thanks to their music that authorities have labelled ‘anti-government’. But has that stopped them? Yolande D’Mello finds out.

What does it take to ensure that people can hear your voice?

For a few Kashmiri and Palestinian youth, it takes a rap song or two.
While growing up in Srinagar, Zubair Magray was dismayed to see the way the mainstream media overlooked various human rights violations in the name of national security. Magray took to rapping and is now one of the many rappers from Kashmir who rap under stage names about the ‘real’ situation in the state.

The songs that Magray aka Haze Kay sings touch upon issues surrounding the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and the Public Safety Act (PSA) but also include his personal story-telling. The music is part of a new wave of protest that takes a cue from similar protests in Palestine.

Another Kashmiri rapper Kasim Hyder aka MC Youngblood says his songs are just an attempt to give people the real picture of what happens in Kashmir. The songs are a reaction against what they see as one-sided reporting by news channels. “News channels are not telling the entire story… They just show protesting Kashmiri stone throwers but not the violence that led to it.”

Both Hyder, a student in Srinagar, and Magray, who is now studying engineering in Pune, choose to rap in English to reach out to a larger audience.

The Kashmiri youth incidentally have company in West Asia, where a Palestinian hip-hop band Da Arabian MC’s (DAM) also uses hip-hop artillery to fight a lone battle.

“Most governments and media agencies are pro-Israeli so our music was a way to tell the other side of the story,” said DAM’s Tamer Nafar.

DAM is currently touring the US. When they started out, they rapped in Arabic. Their first album with English songs is set to release in December.

It started with the second Infitada in 2000 when Suhell Nafar, Mahmoud Jreri and Tamer came together to rap. “Israeli troops would fire at Palestinian crowds but when Palestinian civilians revolted — suddenly the news channels would show up. I didn’t understand politics but I knew it was unfair,” says Nafar.

It’s the unfairness of it all that provoked Magray too. A peaceful protest in Kashmir is usually met with firing from police, he says. Following this, phone lines and Internet services are jammed so that no news can go out. “Can you imagine this happening in Mumbai?” asks Magray.

In 2010, his music was declared anti-government and the authorities started raiding recording studios he used. His friends also suggested he remove the songs he uploaded on YouTube to protect himself. The song was called Azadi.
These songs are popular among Kashmiri youth who connect with singers and their shared history.

It’s now impossible to find studios willing to record rap music in Kashmir, says Hyder. “They are scared and I don’t blame them,” he says.

But despite the clampdown, the music has not stopped thanks to technology that rappers can use to record at home. The songs are uploaded on YouTube and spread via social networking sites. Haze Kay’s latest upload was Burn the Dice last Sunday.

Hyder calls his songs a cog in the machinery to creating a noise on social media platforms online. “Who else can write about the strikes, random arrests, rape, disappearances… It is first hand information,” he says.

Young rappers also see their work as a creative expression for their angst. However, Hyder doesn’t consider himself political. He loves his music and is planning a collaboration with a few international artists. But Magray is more direct. “Music will also be a hobby.” But he wants to be able to go back and work in his hometown.

But no revolution is complete without martyrs. The rappers are often threatened with the PSA that they often refer to in their songs. This Act is used to ‘detain’ political leaders and activists, suspected members of armed opposition groups, lawyers, journalists and protesters.

Amnesty International, a global movement against human rights violations, has said that authorities in Jammu and Kashmir are using the PSA to detain individuals without sufficient evidence for a trial in order to ‘keep them out of circulation’.


Instead of punishing the men in uniform who tortured two young men, the J&K Police is targeting those who exposed the act.
Baba Umar

January 17, 2013, Issue 04 Volume 10

Exposed Video grab of J&K policemen stripping a youngster before thrashing him

Exposed Video grab of J&K policemen stripping a youngster before thrashing him

WHAT WAS hidden in police lock-ups so far is slowly coming out in grainy videos from the Kashmir Valley. A video clip uploaded on YouTube recently shows personnel of the Jammu and Kashmir Police stripping two young men naked before whipping them with belts.

The two-minute video clip titled ‘Kashmir: Indian militiamen assault detained Kashmiri teenagers’ — apparently shot with a cell phone by a policeman inside what is believed to be a police station in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district — shows a group of policemen forcibly taking off the two youngsters’ clothes and thrashing them, while the two keep pleading that they are not guilty.

After the video went viral on the Internet from 8 January, the police filed an FIR (No. 12/2013) under Section 66(A) of the Information Technology Act at the Baramulla police station. Under the controversial section, those who send “false and offensive messages through communication services” can be jailed for upto three years. Rights activists in the state say the police are targeting the whistleblower instead of taking action against those seen torturing the young men on the video.

“The FIR has been lodged against the person who leaked the torture episode. But there is no investigation into the role of those who were watching the crime and taking sadistic pleasure in it,” says Khurram Parvez, a Srinagar-based rights activist. “Had this video been about a similar incident outside Kashmir, the entire nation would have demanded answers.”

This is the latest in a chain of videos from Kashmir to have emerged on social networking sites and YouTube. In 2011, a video clip showed a soldier of the Indian Army shooting an unarmed man point blank after pulling him out from the rubble of a demolished house. The army did not question the authenticity of the video and claimed that the man shot dead was Pakistani militant Ahsan Bhai.

In September 2010 a three-minute video clip titled ‘Indian Army repeating Abu Gharib in Kashmir’ showed CRPF and policemen parading Kashmiri boys naked in Sopore town of north Kashmir. The video triggered massive outrage against the security forces, and Inspector General of Police (Kashmir) Shiv Murari Sahai promised a fair investigation. More than two years later, the probe is yet to pin down those responsible for the atrocity.

Reacting to the latest video clip, top politicians have sought an impartial probe and demanded that a case be filed against the policemen who tortured the two youngsters. PDP leader and former CM Mehbooba Mufti says the subsequent FIR lodged by the police is “yet another incident of silencing the whistleblowers.” Mufti believes such incidents are routine in the state. In 2010, more than 120 boys were shot dead, 95 percent of them students, and yet no justice was done, she says.

Promising to take up the issue with the government, Mufti says the Delhi-based media has glossed over “such a heinous act under the garb of security and nationalism”. The ruling National Conference’s senior leader and J&K Law Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar declined to speak with TEHELKA. “Let me enquire from the police officials first,” he said.

MEANWHILE, POLICE officials say they are investigating the veracity of the video. “The probe may throw up a lead against the officers who stood by doing nothing when the boys were being thrashed.”

Section 66(A) of the IT Act was used in this case even as a public interest litigation against the controversial clause has already made its way to the Supreme Court. SC lawyer and cyber law expert Pavan Duggal says the section is used to gag freedom of speech. “If the video shows police atrocity, it was wrong to file a case under the IT Act.” Agrees Brinda Karat of CPM, who says, “Section 66(A) is being misused to give impunity to the police.”

Anil Parashar, an official of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the country’s apex statutory human rights body, told TEHELKA that the video needs to be examined first. “If we find a violation of rights, then the NHRC will help the victims get justice.”





Published: Fri, 11 January 2013 , Kashmir Reader


Police abuse video: ‘Perpetrators let off, whistle-blower booked’




SRINAGAR: Police investigation into the video-clip showing cops brutally thrashing two youths has drawn flak from legal experts here who say that police have filed a case against the whistle-blower instead of the erring cops. On Wednesday, the police registered a case in Baramulla police station after a 2-minute video-clip surfaced showing scores of policemen thrashing two youth before forcing them to strip. The video became viral on social networking websites amid mass outrage.

However, legal experts said that instead of booking the erring cops under assault and criminal charges, police launched investigation on the basis of a controversial law (Section 66A of the Information Technology Act) that is already under fire for its misuse.Prominent lawyer and human rights activist Parvez Imroz, while condemning the police said the video is a “glaring testimony of state-wide torture that is being perpetuated upon half a million Kashmiris.”
“When the same kind of torture was carried out by US forces in the infamous Abu Ghairab prison, there was an investigation against the accused and they were punished. But here instead of registering an assault charges against the erring cops, they have started an investigation against the whistle-blower who has dared to expose the video,” Imroz told Kashmir Reader.
“They have invoked Section 66A which essentially books the individual who has uploaded the video in the first place, thereby giving cover to those who are involved in this brutal act.”
Echoing similar views, J&K High Court lawyer Mudasir Naqashbandi said that Instead of filing a case to find who uploaded this video on YouTube, “police should have booked the cops who are involved in this barbaric act under charges of grievous hurt, wrongful confinement and attempt to murder.”
The Section 66A of the IT Act has no immediate standing in this case because the video clearly shows that cops are involved in this ghastly act. The State Human Right commission (SHRC) should take suo-moto cognizance of this barbaric act committed by cops,” Naqashbandi told Kashmir Reader.
Section 66A of the IT Act reads: “Any person who sends by any means of a computer resource any information that is grossly offensive or has a menacing character; or any information which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine.”
Section 66A was recently in the eye of the storm after it was used by the authorities in Bombay to arrest two young girls. The duo—Shaheen Dhanda, 21, and Renu Srinivasan—who had questioned the Bombay shutdown to mourn the death of Hindu extremist leader and Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray on November 17, 2012, were booked under the Act. The case was withdrawn following public outrage.
Although senior police officials are tight-lipped on the video, a police spokesmen, said that they have not used Section 66A to book the person who has uploaded the video on the YouTube and that it is only a starting point for the investigation.
“The Act involves investigating individuals who have committed crimes relating to Information and Technology with a criminal intent, and let us not jump to conclusions here. This investigation under Section 66A will then subsequently lead us to those cops who were seen thrashing the two youth on the video,” police spokesman Manoj Pandita told Kashmir Reader.

See the video below



Dilnaz Boga

Dilnaz Boga | Tuesday, October 2, 2012, DNA, blogs

We live in strange times where a query to the state about promotions and awards to policemen in anti-militancy operations in one of the world’s highest militarised zones elicits a cold response… that being, that its disclosure would “pose as a threat to national security and the strategic interests of the state and may lead to the incitement of an offence”.

This essentially provides a shield to the guilty in case of human rights violations by security personnel and offers immunity/impunity from prosecution to those “defending our national security and the strategic interests of the state”.

Imagine if all of us lived in a world where there was no accountability like the men in uniform. Would there be any law and order? Or would we all be prisoners of our own conscience? Wouldn’t we spare a thought for those we harmed in our bid to get what we want? What kind of people would we be if the country’s laws did not apply to us?
Article continues below the advertisement…

The least one should expect in this situation is anarchy. Only the fit will survive. So, men with guns will triumph over young boys with stones. Men who run torture centers will sleep better than the fathers whose sons are broken and killed in the same centers. Women will never feel safe as investigative reports and toothless commissions are primed to fail in the delivery of justice. Such is life for some in militarised states in the country.
When Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), a Srinagar-based non-government organisation, applied for to the Department of Home, Jammu and Kashmir government, about awards and promotions to the police personnel for anti-militancy operations since 1989 to 2012, the RTI application was transferred to the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the Police Headquarters 40 days later.
“This denial is an admission by the Jammu and Kashmir Police that the state does have a policy of incentivising the arrests and killings of militants. It has been from a long time argued by the human rights defenders that this policy of awards and promotions has encouraged the personnel of the Jammu and Kashmir Police and the personnel of the army, CRPF and BSF to carry out extra-judicial killings. This denial sustains the institutional impunity and encouragement provided by the government to the soldiers and police personnel operating in Jammu and Kashmir,” JKCCS’s press release stated.
Khurram Parvez, co-ordinator of JKCCS, said, “It is alarming that the Department of Home does not keep the record of, and chooses not to make a decision on such a sensitive issue which is actually their jurisdiction and has instead relied on the Police Department, a subordinate to the Home Department, for both the record and decision to provide the information. This shows how mechanisms of accountability within the state structures have been deliberately disregarded, where the possible human rights violations and the allegations of corruption amongst the Police personnel could have been checked. This disregard or possible complicity highlights the fact that Jammu and Kashmir Police is not accountable to the superior authorities and also does not believe in having any transparency in the work they do. It is noteworthy that this denial of information from the Police Headquarters suggests that the Department of Home, which is the premier state authority vis-à-vis security, may not at all be involved in the policy and decision making on the issue of awards and promotions to the personnel of Jammu and Kashmir Police for anti-militancy operations.”
Perhaps the Home Department in the Valley is busy with more important tasks like the inauguration of a T-20 cricket contest in Sopore on a sunny Sunday. “Minister of State for Home Affairs Nasir Aslam Wani, the Chief Guest at the event, set pigeons free and helium balloons into the blue sky,” stated the police’s press release. IGP Kashmir SM Sahai, GOC Kilo Force, DIG North Kashmir (Baramulla) and several other officers from the police, the army and various other departments including J&K Sports Council, Education, Revenue, Forest, R&B, Department of Flood Control, etc, graced the occasion. Strange that such dignitaries don’t grace other mortals like us with their presence at T-20 matches in other parts of India.

If people could be won over by the state-sponsored quiz contests, medical camps, sports meets, Bharat darshan trips, drug rehabilitation camps, community outreach centers, job recruitment drives and religious conferences, then Kashmir would have had a very different past. For now, the state has asked telecom companies to block Twitter, YouTube and Facebook for the fate of our fragile national security for them, hinges on verdicts of the people on social networks! Only if that were true of our flailing democracy.

For these psy-ops to work, the Kashmiris would firstly need to obliterate not only their recent memories of the killing of 124 men, women and children in 2010, but also their past, where thousands of lives were lost to massacres, fake encounters, torture, mass rapes and enforced disappearances for almost 70 years. These horrors never fail to rise like a Phoenix, making a home in almost every Kashmiri’s consciousness every time innocent blood is spilled.


By Saima Bhat, The Kashmirwalla, Magazine

Indian-held-Kashmir is a highly militarized zone where for every citizen- the armed forces are in ratio of 1:20, the highest soldier-to-civilian ratio in the world. Women are generally targeted, they are overpowered by the perpetrators in every society and same is the case here where women have been targeted socially, mentally as well as physically.

Indian forces are believed to be hyper masculine who just know how to abuse. They have always tried to attack psyche of the Kashmiri people and with the result they used Rape as a weapon of war to give a signal that ‘you can’t even protect your women and you are seeking Aazadi’! These things usually demoralize and incite a society in unnatural way. If society reacts, army further legitimizes the violence on people and same happened when ever Kashmiris came out on streets like in various rape and molestation cases- Kunan Poshpora mass rape, Bandipora, Wawoosa, Saidapora, Tangmarg, Badrapai, Banihal, Kulgam and the infamous Shopian case.

Women have been the worst victims of any conflict. In a study conducted by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), “Kashmir: Violence and Health”, the findings were, “11.6 percent of interviewees said they had been victims of sexual violence since 1989”. The study revealed that Kashmiri women were among the worst sufferers of sexual violence in the world. The figure is much higher than that of Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Chechnya and Ingushetia.

Most of the rape cases go unreported in the Valley. “Only 2-3 percent rape victims like to share their plight, otherwise many compromise with the situation and due to social stigma do not come forward,” says a human rights defender. But another study of an international NGO and local Human rights group revealed there are more than 7,000 cases of rapes and molestation cases in the valley among which only 300 have been reported so far.

Initially the reported rape victims were further victimized by threatening and by targeting their families to withdraw cases besides facing the social stigma. Khurram Parvez, Human Rights Activist and Programme coordinator Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) says that no women had dared to report it in the local Police Stations which had proved to be ‘hostile’ places. In those days police used to say they ‘can’t report against army’ and it has been like an unannounced order of not reporting against army. So in early 90’s there would have been rarely an FIR logged against rape. All these things ultimately contributed in not reporting the rape cases as they along with their families did not want to suffer further.

In the Kulgam area of Islamabad district, victim Ruqaiya reported rape by two army men on 21 July 2011. As the news came out the situation was tense for the family. Their house was under police custody; around 40 cops were on duty to make sure nobody could enter the house of the victim. Earlier Ruqaiya had filed a first investigation report with the concerned police station, which was put online on YouTube also. And she had stated the same to the politicians visiting her house but what happened after that nobody knows. Later police came with the statement that Ruqaiya is ‘mentally unfit’ and the case got buried.

“It was to demonize women and women themselves were also reluctant to report due to fear, social stigma as their photographs were published along with their names and overall reporting did not reveal any justice,” says Khurram. He also adds that primary reason behind not reporting rape cases was fear and secondary has been social stigma.

Rape cases can be found from every corner of the Valley but the victims do not share their information saying “we know we can’t get justice. Has Kunan poshpora women got any justice then how can we expect we will be given justice” shares a rape victim. Women have been raped in the age group of 60 and as small as 10-year-girl has also not been spared. Some among them are alive and some are dead but over all almost every rape allegation has met the same fate, justice delayed as well as denied also.

According to a report of Police, “Troops raped 51 women in last 6 years”, published in Rising Kashmir (April, 2, 2010). The report says, “A police statement said 38 rape cases allegedly by troops were reported from November 2002 to October 2005. From November 2005 to July 2008, 13 rape cases allegedly by troops were reported”.

The rural woman has been the worst sufferer. In the era of 90’s the rate of female dropouts in rural schools was higher as the schools had been at distance for which the girls had to pass through woods and in those isolated places they could have been targeted. Experts believe there were many cases when girls had faced eve teasing in front of their parents that was same in rural as well as in urban areas. In a similar case which happened in Qazigund where a girl of class 12 was regularly harassed verbally by the Central Reserve Police Forces (CRPF) men. One day she had took her brother along to her school where on way she was molested by the CRPF in front of her brother who was beaten to death by them. Later due to the intervention of locals those siblings were saved from the clenches of those uniformed law breakers.

Such attempts have not been done on road sides only but some women were even raped in front of their family members. In one unreported case, a woman was raped in local police station in front of her husband but the woman was second wife of her husband who then tried to dug up the issue due to other family problems but in the whole run a woman is the sufferer. Syed Adfar Shah, a sociology scholar in Jamia University says, “Militia has its frustrations while being far from home so their wrath falls on the target society”.

On the other hand when such incidents of rape and molestation cases come up, a woman is again targeted by raising fingers on her character. There have been a number of times when armed forces had blamed that ‘women themselves come in the camps’ but to this Khurram says, “Armed forces create such conditions like they arrest a male member of a family and then tell his mother or wife or sister to come in the camp where she is forced to do what ever they want and in return they release that male”. He also says that this is rape by all classification; they have been exploited because of vulnerability that their family member has been arrested or threatened. “Whenever Indian government wants to attack they do it by character assassination.”

Syed Adfar shares that rapes and murders of Women under mysterious circumstances reveal state government’s inability to protect the women folk. “State should take stringent measures to check armed forces from any such aberrations and army top brass must have known their areas of operation well; see people not as subjects but as citizens of a democratic system”.

Khurram adds, “Rape, exploitation and such cases where woman has been forcibly pressurized to do what ‘they’ (armed forces) want to do with them happen in power, when they keep and treat us like slaves”.

Other human rights activists say that Army is defeating their own discipline and credibility by saying women come to camps but “why don’t they say why they allow them to enter into their camps?” In Kunan Poshpora case, The Press Council of India, which was investigating the case said in its report the rape victims were lying and there have been no rapes. The women are doing so for money and to malign army. But then the same case was handled by the then Divisional Commissioner, Wajahat Habibullah who reported there have been gang rapes but till now no justice had been done with those at least 23 victims.

Till now if government of India has asked for conducting any sort of probe in rape cases by paramilitary forces they have just done it to bail out their men. In most of the rape allegations in Indian-held-Kashmir where Indian troops are allegedly involved none except one of the accused has been convicted so far. The civil society and legal experts in Indian-held-Kashmir call this lone conviction, “a shady trail”.

“There was no transparency in the case, we are not sure has it really happened or not, as the Court martial trials are not made public,” says Parvez Imroz, a human rights lawyer and a civil rights activist. “Still if we trust it has happened, the punishment was disproportionate to his crime. Dismissal from service is too little for raping a woman.”