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A documentary movie on Kashmir lands in controversy
Bilal Bhat
Special CorrespondentSpecial Correspondent
Last Updated : 17 Dec 2012 11:52:00 PM IST
Kashmir\
File photo related to Dal Lake in Kashmir.
 

A documentary film 'Ocean of Tears' sponsored, examined and approved by Public Service Broadcasting Trust (PSBT) and Information Broadcasting Ministry, has generated a controversy after University of Kashmir stopped screening of the film.


Interestingly, the film is the first PSBT approved narrative on Kashmir, which has got huge response with about 148000 views on youtube.

Directed by a Kashmiri film maker, Bilal A Jan, who has divided the documentary into four segments, to present alleged women rights violation in Kashmir, during the two decade long armed conflict.
 

The documentary film of 27-minute duration, starts with an eye witness account of men and women from Kunanposhpora, a village in frontier district of Kupwara, some 100 km north of Srinagar.

The eyewitnesses explicitly talk about alleged gang rape committed by army on February 23 night, 1991, during a cordon and search operation in the village.

The film-maker in subsequent parts takes viewers to alleged rape and murder of two women, Asiya and Neelofar, in Shopian district of South Kashmir in May 2009. Separatists had accused police and security forces of committing rape and murder of the women. However, CBI finally described the case as "death by drowning" and ruled out any rape.

The third segment of the documentary, takes viewers to Sopore town of North Kashmir and reminds them of a gruesome incident where two young sisters were killed in cold blood by unknown militants. The Film ends with the narration of “half widows” whose husbands have disappeared in past 20 years.

A documentary movie on Kashmir 'Ocean of Tears' lands in controversy:
 

Even though the Press Council of India report and the CBI have described both kunanposhpora and Shopian incidents as propaganda, the film has taken a different stand indicting State forces in the both the incidents. In order to look balanced the filmmaker, however, has carried some official version of police and other investigating agencies.

"I am an artist and my job is to visualize what remains unseen. I wanted to screen my film in Kashmir University and fulfilled all the formalities. I don't understand how can someone ban my film when a body like PSBT approved it," Bilal Jan said. He added that the film was denied space for screening by the authorities at the eleventh hour citing reasons that it carries some objectionable material.
 

Snap of 'Samay Live' special correspondent Bilal Bhat:

 

The documentary has been examined by PSBT committee comprising Beena panth sharma, Meraj Hussain, Prakesh Singh Negi, Shruti Ram Kochnar and Pankaj Sharma. The members of the revising committee of PSBT certify that the film is fit for 'unrestricted public exhibition'.

It is interesting to see how the film- maker has convinced the censor board on such contentious issues. It seems the examining body has realized the magnitude of trauma, which Kashmiri women have gone through. The Film- maker has watered down the intensity willfully by using limited shots of armed forces to avoid any direct accusation.

The film, which is sponsored by Information and Broadcasting Ministry is now supported by Hurriyat Geelani group, poses a greater challenge for authorities in J&K, who have taken refuge in plagiarism to stop the screening of the film.
 


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