On India’s request, YouTube has blocked a short film ‘Anthem for Kashmir’ that was uploaded on the platform, as it showcases the increasing human rights violations by the Modi government in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
‘Anthem for Kashmir‘ was made by award-winning documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan and Sandeep Ravindranath, and Carnatic singer TM Krishna. Released on May 12, the film coincided with the 1,000th day of India abrogating Article 370, which took away the special status of occupied Kashmir.
The film highlights human rights abuses in the occupied territory, including the enforced disappearances and fake encounters that take place there.
However, the Modi government sent a complaint to YouTube, following which the platform geo-blocked the short film for Indian residents.
The filmmaker Sandeep Ravindranath received a letter from the YouTube Legal Support Team saying they have received a notice from the Indian government requesting the video to be blocked. The letter also said that YouTube was unable to share the communication from the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) government, as the notice itself was confidential.
Talking to the Indian media, Sandeep said, “I find it ironic 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”.
The Federation of Film Societies of India (FFSI), Kerala Region has also condemned India’s ban on the film.
“The film opens a window into the real status of IIOJK. The film portrays the silent cries of Kashmir’s border villages where the Armed Forces Special Powers Act is in force,” FFSI President Chelavoor Venu was quoted as saying by an Indian newspaper.