Kashmir: Curfewed in the vale

Indian Occupied Kashmir Is Worse Than Gaza, Why Is The World Sleeping Over It?

UK and USA Just To Sell Their Weapons Have Turned a Blind Eye; Shame On You

In Kashmir, civilians are being pushed to the brink of disaster amidst protests, curfews and killings. Anger is hurt turned inside out, as Dilnaz Boga explains.

Wounded on 26th August lying in hospitals

It’s been almost two months since we’ve been under curfew in the Kashmir Valley. It’s not the echoes in the empty streets decked up with razor wires that are disturbing, it’s the rising of the sun that brings with it the news of deaths by tear gas shells or bullets.

As journalists we are issued curfew passes by the government. Sometimes, the local police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), India’s paramilitary, rip the passes to bits and prevent us from working. Getting past every street is an achievement, with the police and the paramilitary playing God. Last month, when the government imposed a media gag, the CRPF stood outside media offices, preventing us from moving out. Journalists were beaten and fired upon.

Since this January, the police and the CRPF, for ‘stone-throwing’, have gunned down over 60 unarmed protesters – mostly children as young as eight and teenagers. Doctors say that the injured have been shot mostly in the head and chest. No security personnel have perished in the fierce clashes. In the past month, the violence has intensified, with up to eight deaths a day. Just as the people mourn for one death, another one follows. What will happen next is a question on everyone’s minds.

Funeral processions, ambulances and bystanders have been shot at – their weapon of choice is an AK 47. Their reason: self-defence.

The killings have caused even more people to pour out on the streets to protest, because the justice mechanism is not in place.

Certain sections of the local press have reported that in the last month, 1,400 people, mostly teens, have been booked under draconian acts that the state uses as an instrument of suppression. Kashmir does not have juvenile homes, so the minors share cells with hardened criminals far away from home.

Nightmares follow them upon release, a lawyer tells me.

Misunderstanding Kashmir

For journalists, to confirm a death and report it is tricky. The Police Control Room rarely shares information. The authorities block the cellular phone signals of the area where the killing has taken place. The government has banned SMS service for the last two months. Busy doctors in hospitals, who have their hands full, help us confirm the killing. Law enforcement authorities withhold information, fearing a backlash.

On a recent trip to a village where a young protester had been shot, we managed to accompany his body from a city hospital. As the car swerved to avoid rocks put up by protesters on the road to south Kashmir’s Pampore, we did our best to try and keep up with the ambulance that was carrying the body of 24-year-old Rayees Ahmad, who had been shot by police and CRPF during protests. At that point, we were unaware of the fact that 19-year-old Nayeem Shah, shot in the same protest, had succumbed to his injuries.

Groups of young boys, with their faces covered, guided our three-car convoy to the hometown of the deceased. In the ambulance, Rayees’s friends wailed from the back of the vehicle, screaming to the pedestrians that his death must not be forgotten.
Indian media attributes this stone-throwing to Pakistan and the militant Islamist group Lashkar-e-Toiba. My compatriots, because of this propaganda, have always misunderstood Kashmir

Protestors at night in Srinagar

We entered the town to find streets lined with wailing women and angry men waiting to receive his corpse. Young boys reached out to walk with Rayees on their shoulders for one last time. The town rallied around them, chanting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.

As helplessness turned to rage, residents threw stones and burnt tyres to vent their sadness at the death. Indian media attributes this stone-throwing to Pakistan and the militant Islamist group Lashkar-e-Toiba. My compatriots, because of this propaganda, have always misunderstood Kashmir.

Anticipating retaliation by the forces, we decided to turn back before the violence trapped us. We changed our route as we heard reports of the forces firing on an ambulance. We finally made it out of the picturesque village and into the city, bearing witness to yet another day of grief. Read more of this post

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Facebook’s vile hypocrisy

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By Saad Mustafa Warraich, Karachi – Pakistan

I had been banned from Facebook and my account had been disabled a night before Facebook was banned in Pakistan. Before all this happened, I visited the blasphemous page “Draw Muhammad Day” and the content on the page hurt me badly.

Once again a certain group of westerners called it the “freedom of expression” and went on to show extremism – something they always verbally disassociate themselves from.

As a response to this lunacy, I thought it best to find out how they respond to others’ right of freedom of expression – I created an Adolf Hitler page right away and it read, “To all those who think they can ridicule Islam in the name of freedom of expression and yet punish those who speak of the genius of Hitler”.

The comment on the wall read, “Let’s hit them where it hurts them the most”. Further I added some photos of the Fuhrer, Nazi Party and the Italian Footballer Paolo Di Canio who was banned and fined by FIFA two years ago for performing the “controversial” Roman Salute which according to him gave him a sense of belonging to his people.

Within an hour tens of people joined the Hitler page which was named “H | T L E R”. The very next time I tried to log in I found out that my profile had been disabled for ‘violation of Facebook Regulations’.

facebook ban1 One Facebook, Two Faces [One is Real Ugly]

Click on image to enlarge

Facebook’s reply for my inquiry was as following (also shown in above screenshot):

Hi Saad,

After reviewing your situation, we have determined that your violated our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. One of Facebook’s main priorities is the comfort and safety of our users.

We do not tolerate hate speech. Targeting people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or disease is a serious violation of our standards and has resulted in the permanent loss of your account.

We will not be able to reactivate your account for any reason. This decision is final.

Kimmie
User Operations,
Facebook

Now how is it that Hitler is termed as the most evil person in the history of mankind while those that bomb Muslims, commit heinous crimes in their countries, ridicule their Prophet and Quran and as a result hurt the sentiments of 1.2 billion Muslims are hailed as heroes? And I wonder why the victims of Holocaust are more important than victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Despite the protest of a large number of Muslims, Facebook has not removed the blasphemous page from the website.

According the statement issued by Facebook their policy is to withhold such content in countries where it is controversial. The statement specifically says that we do not remove Nazi content from Facebook because it is illegal only in a few countries. As two-faced statements go, this one takes the prize. Perhaps before issuing the statement the Facebook did not realise that words like “Adolf Hitler”, “Sieg Heil” and “Nazi” are not allowed to be used on Facebook to create new pages.

And if all this and the removal of Hitler page and the permanent deactivation of my profile isn’t enough, here is a testament to Facebook’s vile hypocrisy. The statement issued by Facebook on 20 May says, “We strongly believe that Facebook users have the freedom to express their opinions, and we don’t typically take down content, groups or pages that speak out against countries, religions, political entities, or ideas.”

While, in another instance, Facebook replied me in entirely different way. Excerpt and screenshot is given above.

Now these two conflicting statements speak volumes about the discrimination by the Facebook. It simply means that Facebook through its official statement to global media wants the world to believe that they are the torchbearers of freedom of expression and allow everyone to speak their minds out. On the other hand the face that individuals like me get to see is a much horrible one. It talks about hate and intolerance and all forms of so-called equality and unshakable resolve. While Facebook is portraying itself as the silent and innocent onlooker for the entire world, I wonder what gives them the right to remove a major chunk of my life from the web.

I don’t think Facebook should come up with any clarification statements for the Muslim world over what happened. It is clearer than crystal that as long as we are labelled as extremists, we are not going to enjoy the equal rights in this world. And those that are trying to play God love to label us that. While reporting the Facebook ban in Pakistan in different articles, guardian.co.uk mentions the brutality of Pakistan Army in Swat while Yahoo thinks it’s necessary to unveil Al-Qaida’s plans of attacks on Danish and Dutch football teams. It is a blatant attempt to criticize Pakistan for placing the ban, link the country to extremism and terrorism and thereby justifying this sacrilegious act of Facebook users.

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Teenagers ‘only use 800 different words a day’

A generation of teenagers who communicate via the Internet and by text messages are risking unemployment because their daily vocabulary consists of just 800 words, the Government’s new children’s communication tsar has warned.

Although, according to recent surveys, they know an average of 40,000 words, they tend to favour a “teenspeak” used in text messages, on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace and in internet chat rooms like MSN.

One poll, commissioned by Tesco, revealed that while children had the vocabulary to be articulate, the top 20 words they used – including the Vicky Pollard lexicon of “yeah”, “no” and “but” – accounted for about a third of all the words they used. Read more of this post

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