True Vision

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Kashmir's Torture Trail

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Runtime:
47 minutes
Producer:
Adrian Levy & Cathy Scott-Clark
Director:
Jezza Neumann
Executive Producer:
Brian Woods
Released
2012
Category

Channel Four. July 10th, 11.10pm

 

In the most militarised place on earth, one man is standing up to the armed might of the world’s largest democracy. True Vision follows a Kashmiri lawyer as he uncovers India's best kept secret.

With the world’s media attention focused on repression in Syria and the threat to the Euro, the Indian state of Kashmir, nestling in the shadow of the Himalayas, is in danger of becoming a forgotten conflict.

But two years back this Valley in the shadow of the Himalayas erupted in some of the most violent street protests it has ever seen. Hundreds of thousands of stone-throwing teenagers took aim at heavily armed Indian Security Force troops, who returned live fire, with 118 demonstrators killed, many of them children, followed by a lock-down in which no one could get in or out of the state.

In among the rioters, to find out why they risked their lives, and accompanying a local human rights lawyer determined to investigate how India restored an uneasy peace, True Vision uncovers a state-sanctioned torture programme that has set India on a collision course with the international community.

Kashmiri lawyer Parvez Imroz has never filed a divorce or defended a thief. Instead, this veteran Supreme Court advocate has spent his entire legal career dressed in a grey morning suite and working pro-bono. Broke but determined, with two young children and a wife who complain he has yet to take them on a picnic, Imroz has always risked his life to keep the Indian authorities accountable in this disputed mountain state where, unseen by most of the world, an insurgency has rumbled on since 1989, claiming an estimated 70,000 lives.

He has had some success, in 2008 uncovering a network of 6,000 unmarked graves hidden among the pine forests and apple orchards, in which the Indian government eventually conceded might be some of the bodies of the 8,000 Kashmiris who have vanished in custody - four times more than disappeared in Pinochet’s Chile. Two years later, seeking reprisals, the Indian security forces attacked Imroz’s family home, sending his wife and children into flight.

As stone-wielding Kashmiri youth fought pitched battles with the Indian security forces, BAFTA-winning film-maker JezzaNeumann followed Imroz as he turned his attention to an even more incendiary project, probing how the Indian security forces drove the rioters off the streets and imposed peace, in one of the most heavily militarised places on earth.

Sending out survey teams across the valley, at great risk, he asked ordinary Kashmiris to describe their lives and how India suppressed the riots. Their answers helped him expose and map a network of government-run torture centres, through which as many as one in three Kashmiris have been hauled.

Along the way, the lawyer acquired scores of new cases including Danish, a 16 year old whose friends have been branded, had their bones crushed and their finger nails pulled by the security forces, while his own 12-year-old brother was shot dead in the street by police, as he played cricket with friends.

Click here to read Behind The Scenes in Broadcast, about the making of the film

Filmed, Directed & Edited by:  Jezza Neumann
Producer: Adrian Levy & Cathy Scott-Clark
Executive Producer: Brian Woods
Narrated by: Hugh Bonneville

Watch the BBC News item about Jezza Neumann, nominated for a Rory Peck Award for Kashmir's Torture Trail here:-

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True Vision were delighted to personally present Kashmiri lawyer, Parvez Imroz, with an Amnesty Media Award statue, following the announcement of Kashmir's Torture Trail's recent win in the Documentary category.


Parvez Imroz receives Amnesty Media Award 2013


Additional Resources

 

Additional Short Films
Click here to see five additional short films featuring material not included in the finished film, plus an interview about the making of the film with multi-BAFTA winning film-maker Jezza Neumann


Timeline
Click here to see a timeline mapping the troubled relations between India and Pakistan since Partition.

 

Solutions
BBC News Online has Interactive Maps here, showing possible solutions for the division of Kashmir


The Victims
The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victms supports the Kashmiri group of lawyers and civil activists led by Parvez Imroz. Read the World Without Torture Blog.  And help IRCT help the struggle for justice and freedom in Kashmir by donating here.


Human Rights Watch have been closely monitoring the situation in Kashmir for some time.

 

Click here for a number of HRW reports on Kashmir

Including this report on unmarked graves, highlighting the fact that an inquiry by the police investigation team of the Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission has found 2,730 bodies dumped into unmarked graves in four of the state’s 14 districts.

And this report from January 2012, focussing on the impunity of security forces, and the problems of enforced disappearances in conflict areas, extrajudicial killings, the persistent use of torture, and increasing attacks against human rights defenders


Parvez Imroz

Click here if you want to read how the lawyer Parvez Imroz and his field workers uncovered a network of thousands of unmarked and mass graves thought to contain the bodies of 8000 missing Kashmiris who have vanished in the custody of the Indian security forces.


Click on the map below to explore Kashmir


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