By News Desk | Delhi, India
A documentary on the torture of people of Kashmir titled Kashmir’s Torture Trail was screened today at the University of Delhi’s North Campus for the students, followed by a discussion with Gautam Navlakha – an eminent civil rights activist and author.
By the acclaimed BAFTA winning film-maker Jezza Neumann, the film traces the victims of torture in the Valley, affected by the decades long violence and the repression by the Indian forces which includes torture, killings, and disappearances. It follows the prominent human rights lawyer, Parvez Imroz, as he documents the cases of torture victims to produce a report.
The report, Alleged Perpetrators – Stories of Impunity in Jammu and Kashmir, was later released by Imroz and his team in December 2012. The report examines 214 cases of human rights violations and for the first time, the role of 500 alleged perpetrators in these crimes which contain even the officers from the Jammu and Kashmir police and the Indian forces. The copies of the report were also available at the screening for the students.
The 48 minute documentary also goes through the stories of protestors against whom the forces used brute forces to crush the mass protests. It also sheds light on the torture centers run by the government; from where, as the narrator says, as many as one in three Kashmiris have been hauled.
Since 2008 mass protests, in which more than 80 people were killed by the Indian forces, the people of Kashmir have followed this new phase of resistance. In the year 2010, the valley erupted again against the India and demand for azadi continued for months, resulting in the Indian forces killing more than 120 civilian protestors. Most of the dead were school-going children, the youngest among them was 8 year old Sameer Rah.
The documentary narrates the tale of the young stone throwers too, who were arrested during 2010 mass protests and were tortured. It strengthens the narrative that the people of Kashmir doesn’t seem stepping back from their demand for self-determination or azadi. Also, to seek the attention of the international community, Imroz, fights back by documenting the anecdotes, cases, data, and providing legal aid to the victims.
Post the screening, while discussing the report and the anecdotes shown in the documentary, Navlakha talked about the nature of the torture in the Valley and also mentioned some of the cases. He said that the Indians have to ask themselves these difficult questions of why people of Kashmir don’t want to be with India even after 66 years. “I think the self-determination is the most democratic way of resolution,” he said, while answering a student’s query.