Shuddhabrata Sengupta

From Kafila.org: “Kashmir’s Abu Gharaib

“Two days ago, I noticed a video posted by somebody on my facebook page. It was yet another video from Kashmir. It was tagged ‘brothers please watch, sisters please do not watch’.

“The video was available on Youtube on the night of 8th/9th September, 2010, before being taken down.

Notwithstanding the misspelling of Abu Gharaib in these tags, there was something compellingly accurate in the designation. What I saw, and what i have seen unfold subsequently as a response by the Indian state to the circulation of this video, makes Abu Gharaib look like child’s play. Welcome to the virtual, viral, televisual reality of the nightmare of Kashmir.”

“For the past several weeks, I have been watching, and forwarding, several videos uploaded on to Youtube and facebook from Kashmir. Every video that I have seen contains evidence of the brutality of the Indian state’s footprint on the Kashmir valley, and of the steadfast yet resilient courage of its people, and of the innovative use they have been making of the internet to bear witness to their oppression.”

“The banal violence of the scene is in some ways far more distressing than the images gun battles and blood on the streets that we have become accustomed to harvesting from the past few months in Kashmir. At least in the pitched street battles, we see, adversaries, albeit unequal adversaries, policemen, paramilitaries, soldiers one one side and the angry tide of stone pelters on the other.

Here, there are no adversaries. Prisoners are not in a position to be adversarial when they are surrounded by heavily armed men in uniform. What we see instead are unarmed captives, people who are in no position to threaten or endanger the security forces. That such people should be made to undergo a humiliation such as this is proof of the extent to which the forces of the Indian state in Kashmir have become bruatlized by the experience of serving in Kashmir.”

“That the uniformed representatives of the Indian state should choose to wear the nakedness of their violence with such pride and aplomb says something shocking and profound about the sheer immorality of India’s ongoing military occupation of the Kashmir valley.”

“I do hope that even all those who consider themselves to be genuinely patriotic Indians will be disgusted by what the video reveals about Indian might in Kashmir. If they hold their patriotism in the slightest regard, then, they should realize that the continuing occupation of Kashmir, which breeds perversities such as this, is only a blot of shame on what they hold dear as the fair name of their country and on their patriotism. I hope that they will find it in themselves to act with the honour that they take pride in, and refuse any longer to be complicit, willingly or unwillingly, in the nightmare that haunts the waking and sleeping hours of the people of Kashmir today.”

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