Tag Archives: india

Indian troops martyr 17 Kashmiris in September

Srinagar, October 01 : In India illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, Indian troops in their unabated acts of state terrorism martyred seventeen (17) Kashmiris in the last month of September.

According to the data issued by the Research Section of Kashmir Media Service, today, of those martyred ten (10) Kashmiris were killed in fake encounters.

During the month, seven youths were critically injured due to the use of brute force by Indian police and paramilitary personnel in the territory. At least 140 civilians including religious leaders, youth, and social and political activists were arrested and most of them were booked under black laws, Public Safety Act, and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The troops also destroyed four residential houses during 162 cordon and search operations in the month.

(Kashmir media service Report)

Bollywood under siege as rightwing social media boycotts start to bite

Laal Singh Chaddha is the latest film to face targeted attacks from anti-Muslim, Hindu-nationalist trolls who some claim are beginning to impact box office performance

In August this year, a week after the release of Laal Singh Chaddha, Bollywood’s adaptation of Forrest Gump, a Twitter account with about 280,000 followers, tweeted: ​​“#Urduwood is trending. Thanks to all who have accepted this term to accurately define the anti-national, anti-Hindu pedophile cabal that takes your money to destroy you.” The tweet received more than 1,700 retweets and about 5,800 likes.

For those not familiar with the term “Urduwood”, it is a pejorative popular among far-right social media and politicians. Urdu is an Indian language with a Perso-Arabic script, and is the national language of Pakistan; hence it is associated with Muslims and its use is a way to claim the film industry is “Hinduphobic”.

For decades, India’s Hindi film industry, known as Bollywood, has been one of the country’s most popular products, for Indians themselves and the world at large. But the consolidation of Hindu nationalism under the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has marked a cultural shift.

Laal Singh Chaddha stars, and is produced by, Aamir Khan, one of Hindi cinema’s trio of superstar Khans (Shahrukh and Salman are the other two, all unrelated). On its release, social media platforms witnessed a tidal wave of targeted attacks calling for a boycott of the movie. The resurfacing of remarks made by Khan on the rise of “intolerance” in India in 2015, as well as clips from his 2014 film PK (which criticized blind-faith belief) were coupled with targeted tweets. Laal Singh Chaddha has fared poorly at the box office, but the calls for a boycott have not stopped. Other movies, such as Vikram Vedha, Dobaara, Shamshera and Brahmastra, are also in the line of fire, the last two owing to the recirculation of 11-year-old remarks by the lead actor, Ranbir Kapoor, on eating beef.

“Bollywood is an industry where Muslims have had representation and success, which bothers the Hindu right,” the Bollywood actor Swara Bhasker said. Bhasker herself has repeatedly been on the receiving end of rightwing ire, including a death threat. She adds: “If a popular mass medium of entertainment is so organically secular, pluralistic and diverse, then to further their agenda of a Hindu nation and discredit secularism, they have to discredit that medium.”

Organized trolling has also been deployed against films and streaming series such as Thappad, A Suitable Boy, and Bombay Begums, particularly for the last two’s depictions of interfaith romance. After a scene from A Suitable Boy depicted a Hindu girl and Muslim boy kissing, a state-level BJP minister called for a criminal case against Netflix India, which streamed the show. Politicians, particularly leaders and parliamentarians affiliated with the ruling BJP, also called for “introspection” and “ripping apart” of the Bollywood “ecosystem”, with some alleging that Khan was “money laundering” and that Laal Singh Chaddha “glorified terrorism”.

Screenwriter Hussain Haidry said that these campaigns “directly or indirectly cater to anti-Muslim sentiments or Hindu persecution complex”. Referring to the outrage over the web series Tandav, which depicted a Muslim-origin actor dressed up as a Hindu deity in a now-deleted scene. Haidry added: “This combination of a Muslim presence with supposedly anti-Hindu depictions strikes gold for them.”

A recently published paper by Joyojeet Pal, associate professor of information at the University of Michigan, and researcher Sheyril Agarwal found that tweets with the hashtag #BoycottBollywood were made in an organized manner, with several ghost accounts using hate speech, misinformation and presenting south Indian (particularly Telugu) films as more “traditional” compared with the “degenerate” and “culturally aloof” Bollywood. Their research found that 12,889 out of the 167,989 accounts that sent an anti-Bollywood message had zero followers and were mostly created in the past two years, suggesting collusive behavior.

How effective have these boycotts been? It is not always clear. Of the 26 big Bollywood releases so far in 2022, about 20 of them (77%) reportedly flopped, losing half or more of their investment. Experts, however, view the box office results as a sign of post-Covid reluctance, with Indians taking to streaming platforms.

Taran Adarsh, a movie critic, and trade analyst told the media that film exhibitors he spoke to said that boycott campaigns had affected Laal Singh Chaddha. But Adarsh also stressed other factors, including the rise in online streaming platforms during Covid lockdowns, which reduced the incentive to pay for a movie-hall experience. “So now, the hook to draw the audience to theatres is well-made big-screen entertainers,” he said.

The recent success of Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt’s Brahmastra has been held up as a counter-example – despite vicious trolling, it performed well at the box office, though some critics have ascribed its success to its Hindu symbolism that borrows from the Hindu mythology-inspired fantasy style of films such as the globally popular RRR.

Haidry suggests that this made a difference. “The campaign against Laal Singh Chaddha used anti-Muslim motivations, which couldn’t be weaponized against Brahmastra.”

Bhasker says: “I don’t think Bollywood necessarily understands that this targeting is coming from an ideology ruling India. This ideology aims to achieve total control over thoughts and expression. Their cultural project is majoritarian and totalitarian.”

Sopore Mandi lost Rs 500 Cr due to halted fruit trucks on Sgr-Jmu highway

In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, fruit growers staged a peaceful protest demonstrated, in Sopore town of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district against the halting of fruit-laden trucks along the Srinagar-Jammu highway.

Notably, fruit growers and buyers across the Kashmir valley are continuously protesting time to time over the halting of trucks along the national highway, but despite protests nothing happened

Scores of fruit growers assembled inside fruit mandi Sopore and demanded smooth transportation of fruit-laden trucks along the highway.

The president of Fruit Mandi Sopore, Fayaz Ahmed Malik, talking to the media maintained that they have already suffered heavy losses during the last several years due to natural calamities and continued blockage of the Srinagar-Jammu highway and now unnecessarily stopping of fruit-laden trucks are compounding to their miseries. He said the authorities are unnecessarily stopping trucks and it seems they deliberately want the fruit growers to suffer.

Fruit growers in occupied Jammu and Kashmir have called for opening of trade routes via Azad Jammu and Kashmir for the apple and other businesses with the outside world.

President buyers association, Fruit Mandi Sopore Mudasir Ahmed Bhat told a local news agency, that the halting of trucks along the Srinagar-Jammu national highway leads to a loss of around 500 crore rupees to the growers, buyers, and dealers in the month of September only.

He said, that a buyer suffers a loss of 4-5 lac rupees per truck as the authorities are unnecessarily stopping trucks and it seems they deliberately want them to suffer. “Who is going to pay the losses?” asked Mudasir.

the fruit growers, on Monday, closed the fruit market in protest against Modi government’s unannounced economic blockade by halting thousands of trucks laden with apples on the Srinagar-Jammu highway for past 20 days.

US report exposes Indian Army’s propaganda campaign

The report titled “My Heart Belongs to Kashmir: An Analysis of a Pro-Indian Army Covert Influence Operation on Twitter” took cognizance of a Twitter network that was recently suspended and concludes that the network was consistent with the Indian Army’s Srinagar-based Chinar Corps..

The report pointed out that the purpose of the Twitter accounts in the network was to praise the Indian Army for their military successes and provision of so-called humanitarian services in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The report said the accounts also criticized Pakistan and China who are rivals of India.

The Chinar Corps is responsible for military operations in the Kashmir Valley. The Corps also has social media accounts where it consistently promotes a positive image of the Indian Army despite its internationally recognized human rights violations in IIOJK. Moreover, the social media accounts of Chinar Corps were suspended and blocked for short periods of time on multiple occasions for “coordinated inauthentic activity”.

Last month, Twitter identified a network of over 1000 accounts that tweeted about India and Pakistan. Twitter suspended the network for violating its Platform Manipulation and Spam Policy and said that the presumptive country of origin was India.

The SIO report noted that while the network was not attributed to any actor or organization, there were many similarities to the Chinar Corps. It stated that the content of the Twitter network is consistent with the Chinar Corps’ objectives, praising the work of the Indian Army in IIOJK.

The network was made up of several Twitter accounts posing as fake Kashmiris with images taken from elsewhere on the internet, for instance, Getty Stock Images.

“Tweets tagging journalists aimed either to bring events to the attention of reporters or to bring the reporter to the attention of followers – often in an apparent attempt to target the reporter for what was framed as anti-India content,” the report further revealed.

It is to mention here that Stanford Internet Observatory is a program of the Cyber Policy Center which is a joint initiative of the Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies and the prestigious Stanford Law School in the US.

Indian land ‘ceded’ to China in Ladakh, locals claim

Locals near India’s border with Chi­na in the mountainous region of Lad­a­kh have claimed that the Indian government “ceded” land to China after both sides agreed to withdraw troops from contentious areas earlier this month, The Guardian reported on Monday.

India and China have been involved in a tense cross-border dispute since 2020 in the western Hima­layas. However, the two nations began pulling back soldiers from the contested area of Gogra-Hot Springs after top-level military mee­t­ings in which they agreed to deescalate the situation.

According to a statement by the Indian government after the agreement, the territory on both sides of the border, known as the line of actual control, has been restored to the ‘pre-standoff period’. As part of the truce, buffer zones were created in which neither side was allo­w­ed to patrol their troops.

However, talking to The Guardian, locals and elected representatives of the region have claimed that the buffer zones have been established in areas previously under Indian control.

“Our army is vacating areas which were not disputed at all, while Chinese troops are stationed in the areas traditionally patrolled by India,” Konchok Stanzin, an elected councillor from the region, told The Guardian.

Mr Stanzin claimed India had already ceded land during a 2021 agreement to withdraw from areas around Lake Pangong.

“We raised similar concerns in earlier disengagement, like in the Pangong Tso area where our army again lost a huge area,” he was quoted as saying.

“Earlier, our concern was about Chinese incursions only but now … our government is giving up our land happily. If India’s approach remains the same, we are going to lose more land.”

Locals are also apprehensive of the intrusion as they have lost massive areas which they used as grazing lands for their cattle, said Mr Stanzin. They fear this will impact their main sources of living — the cashmere wool-producing Changra goats.

Last week, opposition party Congress leader Rahul Gandhi alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given 1,000 square kilometres of territory to China “without a fight”.

According to The Hindu, Mr Gandhi also asked the government to explain how the territory ceded to China will be retrieved?

The stand-off between the two neighbouring nations started on May 5, 2020, after a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas. The tensions reached the tipping point a month later when a hand-to-hand battle in 2020 left 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers dead.

As the conflict intensified, both sides moved tens of thousands of soldiers and heavy weaponry to the area.