YouTube in India bans short film highlighting rights abuses in IIOJK

Jul 6, 2022: According to a report by APP, India’s government has persuaded YouTube to ban a nine-plus minute short film Anthem for Kashmir in India which highlighted the enforced disappearances and fake encounters in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

The short film, a production by award-winning documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan and Sandeep Ravindranath, and Carnatic singer TM Krishna, was released on May 12 coinciding with the 1,000 days of the abrogation of Article 370 on May 1, which revoked the special status of the occupied territory.

However, following the legal complaint by the Indian government, the video streaming platform has geo-blocked the short film for the viewers in India.

A letter from YouTube Legal Support Team sent to Sandeep Ravindranath said they have received a notice from the Indian government seeking blocking of the video. Expressing their inability to share the communication from the BJP government, the YouTube letter said this was since the notice itself is confidential.

Talking to the Indian media, Sandeep said that he found it ironical that a “nuclear-armed state is perturbed by a few minutes of video clips and the power of the pen… There is a pattern in the recent government crackdown on media persons, intellectuals and social activists. The underlying objective is to silence voices that question its unilateral discourses on key issues pertaining to politics, policy-making, governance and essentially the structure and ethics of the state”.

He said the clampdown in IIOJK in the aftermath of August 5, 2019 had motivated him to chronicle the human rights violations in the Muslim-majority valley.

Sandeep Ravindranath said the aim, and the motivation were to also try and portray the “truth of today’s Kashmir”.

The short film has visual references to forced disappearances and military oppression and is accompanied by a Tamil protest rock track.

Through the short film, the filmmaker tried to contradict the popularity of the movies like The Kashmir Files, which had been widely criticised for trying to villify Muslims in the IIOJK.

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