Kashmir solidarity day: The battleground shifts online

Activists say social media has the power to shake world conscience

M A Mir February 04, 2017

MUZAFFARABAD: While Azad Jammu and Kashmir, along with the rest of Pakistan observes February 5 as a day of solidarity for those who died in the freedom struggle, a major change witnessed would be the shift in battlegrounds.

The war has been taken up by the youth in cyberspace.

“It [social media activism] is the best way to contribute, to highlight the sufferings and human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IoK),” said Maria Iqbal Tarana, a social activist based in Muzaffarabad.

Kashmir Solidarity Day: Country to observe national day

“We can shake the conscience of the world community while posting and uploading videos, images and other content related to the Kashmiris right of self-determination and their struggle.”

This was proved no more than Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. While it is unclear whether the 22-year-old physically participated in any violent activities of the group, he was most often found waging his war on social media. He was eventually killed in a military action by India on July 8, 2016, which sparked a new wave of resistance in the disputed Himalayan region which continues.

Tarana added that this was the era of ‘dot com’ and social media networking sites can be used to at least express solidarity with their brothers in and sisters in IoK.

“We are [living] in peace and comfort in AJK. If we have little bit time to share the grief and sorrows of our Kashmiri brothers, then I think we should write a sentence on our social networking sites to expose Indian atrocities before starting our daily work in offices, schools, colleges and universities,” said another social activist Shaishta Safi.

“I believe that if we upload just a picture of the victims of Indian state terrorism, it would not only help to heal the wounds of Kashmiris, but also expose the violent image of India before the world,” said Shahid Mahmood Wani, another social media activist.

Wani has been using the internet and social media for the last 13 years and believes that it helps mould public opinion.

“In our fast-paced lives, nobody has time to watch TV or read newspapers. However, every educated citizen has a smartphone on which they can easily read what is happening around the globe and we have been using it to express solidarity with our brothers in IoK,” Wani added.

Kashmir Solidarity Day: Country to observe national day

Wani said that more than a million people across the Line of Control are linked to each other through social media. If each and every one of these used social media to expose atrocities committed by Indian troops in IOK and the ceasefire violations along the LoC, it would help draw the world’s attention towards the Kashmir dispute and the sufferings of the people in IoK.

His statements are given further credence by India’s actions which resorted to shutting down the internet before firing the proverbial first shot in IOK during the recent conflict.

However, Wani admitted that the youth do need guidelines to make the effective use of social media and their messages impactful.

“When Burhan Wani used this technology in conflict zone to expose Indian brutalities then why can’t we use the same technology to support the Kashmir cause in the peaceful environment of AJK,” he asked.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 5th, 2017.


UniqueMaterial | 6 years ago | Reply Social Media re: Kashmir Freedom. Slow - but it's working. God willing, this year you will be FREE.
love | 6 years ago | Reply Solidarity with humans is more important than solidarity with a kashmiri a sindhi a baloch etc. If we can first improve things which are within our control then such things make sense. First let the citizens of Pakistan enjoy the freedom and equality. More importantly the Baloach and Sindhi community. That is of course within your control and jurisdiction.
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