Before the January 25 revolution in Egypt that led to the Arab Spring, it was the Kashmiris who used social media to mobilise and organise protests in 2008 and extensively in 2010. With 60 per cent of the population under the age of 30, the discourse is led by opinion leaders on various social media platforms and not by the newspapers.
Kashmiris have used the technology as a tool to define their movement for independence. Rather than waiting for journalists to make a story, they are taking a phone and making a story on their own. A phenomenon that has not only created awareness on Kashmir globally, but given local voices an international platform.
Indian authorities call the shotgun shells filled with hundreds of small metal pellets a “non-lethal” weapon for crowd control, but that does not make them harmless. They’ve inflicted a permanent toll on hundreds of Kashmiris hit by them.Their faces are scarred. Their eyes are damaged or simply gone, replaced with prosthetics. And their psychological wounds run deeper still.”What I miss most is being able to read the holy Quran,” says Firdous Ahmad Dar, 25, a Kashmiri man who lost vision in both eyes after being shot with the pellets during an anti-India protest in the troubled Himalayan region.
Welcome to my home, where my identity is always in question from men in camouflage who have come from planes in hundreds of thousands. The barbed wires guarded by Indian armed forces come with frequent questioning. Since Burhan Muzaffar Wani died during a brief gunfight in South Kashmir, the undercurrents of resistance have gripped the mountains and the vales of this Himalayan region. Speak to people and pat comes the reply: “This time, the mood of the people is different as compared to the uprisings of 2008 and 2010.”