Organizers, students stage protest


Srinagar, Dec 15: Demonstrations rocked University of Kashmir Saturday after the Jammu and Kashmir Police barred screening of a documentary film ‘Ocean of Tears’ in the campus.
 The documentary has been certified by the Central Board of Film Certification, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India.
 The documentary portraying the “nature of crimes committed against women in Kashmir,” is directed by a Kashmiri filmmaker Bilal A Jan. The film was to be screened in the Varsity’s Convocation Complex here this afternoon. According to the filmmaker, the documentary reveals the “victims’ experience” in the struggle against all forms of violence inflicted to them.
 “It depicts how they learn to deal with their past and the coming year of further battle against power structures,” he said.
 At around 2: 30 pm, a contingent of police stopped the organizers, the filmmaker and hundreds of viewers from entering the Convocation Complex. It was put under a siege ahead of the scheduled time of documentary’s premiere.
 Police move to stop screening of the documentary enraged the students and viewers with anti-India and pro-freedom slogans rocking the campus. “This is an open attack on freedom of expression and speech. If the film has already been certified by Central Board of Film Certification, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, denying screening of the documentary in the Varsity is paranoia of authorities,” said Syed Abid Shafi, a postgraduate student.
 The protestors also shouted anti-University slogans and accused the KU administration of “surrendering to police whim.”
 “This is a police state. The film is a depiction of reality of victims of conflict and crime. It is absurd that police denied screaming to a CBFC-certified film,” said maker of the documentary, Bilal A Jan. He said he had already paid a rent of Rs 20,000 to the University for screening of the film in the Convocation Complex.
 “My film was certified by CBFC without any cuts. We were hopeful of its screening in the Kashmir University but at the eleventh hour it proved that this place is a police state,” Jan said.
 The documentary ‘Ocean of Tears’ is funded by Public Service Broadcasting Trust in partnership with Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
 Among the viewers who had come to watch the documentary were Chairperson Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons Parveena Ahanger, members of Majlis Mushawirat Shopian.
 “We are being barred to even listen to our stories. This is the height of injustice. Since the documentary is a depiction of victims, I had already a premonition that they would not allow its screening,” viewers said.
 The filmmaker said the act of police to stop them from entering the Convocation Complex was uncalled for. “It is dictatorship. A contingent is coming and stopping people without any reason,” he said.
 Registrar Kashmir University Prof Zaffar Ahmad Reshi said screening of the film was barred because the officials had received “a complaint” from someone regarding the film.
 “The complaint has not been registered about the content, it is about copyright. The complainant has contested the film is his production,” he said. Asked who complained about the film, the Registrar said he has no further information of the issue.
 Superintendent of Police Hazratbal Abdul Qayoom said the University itself denied screening of the film. Denying further comments on the matter, he dropped the phone.

Lastupdate on : Sat, 15 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 15 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 16 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST

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