A freedom struggle is not a matter of days or moments; it takes years, sometimes decades and ages; it asks for sacrifices and struggle, where every bit counts. Be it the use of power, mind, intellect and peaceful demonstration – every single act is valuable and helps nations to achieve the ultimate goal. The same holds true when freedom lovers use social networking websites for highlighting the pains of their oppressed state. Creating awareness about human rights violations, terrorism, brutalities and tyranny on social networking spaces is a new but fast developing trend, a practice that has been seen to bear much fruit. It is not to be taken as a mere fun activity, but a dedicated way of protest if used skillfully.
In this modern age of technology, when the tyrannical forces choke you and ban you even from holding a peaceful march; when you are caged, your sources are caged, the media blocked – then you try to find new ways. The people of Kashmir also have found a new means in the social networking sites for voicing their resentment. In order to put a blanket over their crimes, the Indian security forces, with the help of the local establishment, in order to curb the public resentment, usually put the whole Valley under strict curfew, barricading every lane and bylane, laying down the concertina wires, thereby limiting the Kashmiris to their homes.
But the brave hearted Kashmiris have their own way of fighting back. Be it the ‘stones in my hands’, braving the bullets or using social networking sites, Kashmiris want to remain at the forefront.
Annoyed at the lack of media coverage to the Ramban Massacre, in which six Kashmiri Muslims were martyred and 48 injured by the bullets fired by the Indian Paramilitary BSF in the Gool area of Ramban District, the agitated youth of the Valley took Twitter by storm.
Saturday evening witnessed a historical Twitter storm. Kashmir trended globally, adding a new chapter to the bruised history of Kashmir. When global media, especially the Indian media, suppressed the news regarding the Ramban Massacre and its aftermath, the Kashmiri tweeple stood up with their ignited minds and burned the candles of faith in each tweet to illuminate the surroundings, to make the world aware of the facts. Kashmiris, young and old, showed the world – ‘whether you give coverage to our pains or not, we are far more capable to make you hear the cries from the valley’. They challenged the fascist media of the world – ‘whether you portray our miseries or not, we will roar, as we are not less than lions’. Kashmiris spoke about their reality, the stories of loss and longings, about the martyred, about the missing, about the molested and raped and about their heroes. Kashmir cried and said to the world; “Behind our smile is our story, but you may never understand.”
It was for the first time in the history of social media and the freedom struggle of Kashmir, when on Saturday, evening of 20th July, the Kashmiris, along with numerous die-heart Kashmir lovers around the world, created the Twitter Storm with the hashtag #KashmirNow which trended number one globally.
Twitter users, both from Kashmir and Diaspora, started tweeting at 8:30 pm (Indian Standard Time) with the hashtag #KashmirNow, and within no time, there was a massive flow of tweets (500 tweets/sec) which made it possible to trend globally. Tweets like, “We are number one! Kashmir is trending at #1”, were tweeted out of sheer excitement for a global recognition of their cause.
Creating awareness about the prevailing situation in Kashmir and the atrocities committed by the Indian police and troopers was the main motive behind the Twitter storm.
Tweets mostly revolved around the Kashmir conflict, the armed resistance and the mass uprisings against the Indian rule, the human rights abuses, massacres, torture, killings, and detentions.
Significantly, Kashmir is on boil since Thursday, after troopers of the Indian Border Security Force killed six people in the Gool area of Ramban, and desecrated Quran in a local Masjid and Madrasa. The whole of Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed massive anti-India, pro-Islam and pro-freedom protests, in return of which the government has clamped a strict curfew to thwart the protests.
Here are some of the tweets:
We are tweeting because no news is shown in international media about te siege and massacre in #KashmirNow
— ابو أمل Faysal (@_faysal) July 20, 2013
— San'aa bint Kashmir (@Sanaa_Sultan) July 20, 2013
— حمز ه (@KashmirRebel) July 20, 2013
— iKashmir (@icashmir) July 20, 2013
When we speak for our land, we recieve abuses and rape threats by the so called Nationalists. #KashmirNow
— ♕ Ramadan ☆♡ (@Musharim) February 12, 2013
— Inshah Malik (@InshahMalik) February 11, 2013
Kashmir has never been calm since 1947, all calm phases are illusions drawn on a canvas by the guns & goons of India #KashmirNow
— Phantom (@_ph4ntom) February 11, 2013
We are also humans. We like life, and we would like to live it normally like other people in the world #KashmirNow
— Seerat Qadri (@qadriseerat) July 21, 2013
— MissTerrious ® (@MissTerriouss) July 20, 2013
— aneela shahzad (@AneelaShahzad) July 20, 2013
He who allows oppression shares the crime #Kashmirnow
— Rifaqat Mir (@iRifaCat) July 20, 2013
Notably, Kashmir, being called Paradise on Earth, also has some unfortunate traits linked with it. With a 700,000 Indian occupational army on its surface Kashmir is the most heavily militarized territory, where draconian laws such as Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) grant the army and paramilitary forces sweeping powers – a free license to kill.
With 93,763 Kashmiris killed, 120,013 arrested, 107,436 children orphaned, 105,955 houses/buildings destroyed, and 10,033 women gang-raped, some 3000 plus ‘unknown, unmarked, and mass’ graves, Kashmir is surviving under the brutal Indian regime since the last 63 years, and the cycle of terror is going on, with the world powers watching as mute spectators. Kashmir needs a solution for the betterment of all the parties involved in it. Let us hope peace will prevail one day in the peace-loving vale of Kashmir!