Kashmiri Film Maker Seeks UN Intervention

SRINAGAR: United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) has shown its inability to persuade Government of India to allow the screening of ‘Ocean of Tears’, a documentary depicting violence on Kashmiri women.

“UNHRC Geneva has registered your complaint under reference number COM-13-0973. We have studied your complaint and have assessed it as appropriate, but we are helpless.” This response was given by the Commission to film maker Bilal Jan who had asked UNHRC to intervene and persuade governments of Jammu and Kashmir and India to allow the screening of his 27 minute documentary.

Bilal Jan told CNS that despite getting clearance from the Censor Board of Film Certification India, Government has stopped the screening of ‘Ocean of Tears’. “I have written a letter to Secretary General UN and am waiting for their response,” Jan said.

Jan alleged that Home Ministry is proving the biggest obstacle in screening the documentary. “Government of Jammu and Kashmir did not allow us to screen it at Kashmir University and even the documentary was banned in Aligarh Muslim University,” he said.

 He said that AMU was ready to screen it but at the eleventh hour the organizer head changed his mind. “I was stunned to listen from organizer head that Home Ministry directed him to stop the screening,” Jan said.

Produced under the banner of the Public Service Broadcasting Trust of India (PSBT) in September 2012 and supported by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, ’Ocean of Tears’ contains sensitive content as the victims are being shown narrating their woeful tales. The documentary is based on real events and was viewed around 1,49,000 times before its trailer on Youtube was taken down.

Besides screening in Kolkatta in March this year, the Ocean of Tears was screened by the  Indian Documentary Producers’ Association in conjunction with Dada Saheb Phalke Film City and P.L. Deshpande Maharashtra Kala Academy in Mumbai. Flim was also screened at Aljazeera international documentary film festival-2013 and 3rd Nepal international human rights film festival-2013.  It was specially screened at Oklahoma University USA few months ago.

Film-maker said that he fails to understand why the government is not allow its screening when already a lot has been shown and written on the sufferings of Kashmiri women.

Pertinently, the documentary graphically depicts the sufferings of Kashmiri women in the course of the turbulence of the past two decades. It features the plight of the women of Kunan Poshpora- victims of the alleged 1991 mass rape by the army, and those of the families of the hundreds of missing people, besides other excesses. 

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