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Radio Maej Kasheer

Kashmir diaspora Internet radio launches as gov’t blocks ‘Net in Jammu and Kashmir

It has got to be a confusing moment for Radio Maej Kasheer. The service has launched its Internet stream for the global Kashmiri community as India has been blocking Internet service in Jammu and Kashmir. NDTV (New Delhi Television) quotes Kashmir’s Inspector General of Police justifying the ban on Internet services a “precautionary measure” in light of “communal tensions.”

The suspension has provoked outrage among Kasmir residents—a former chief minister commenting on “the irony of listening” to Prime Minister Narendra Modi “lecturing about connected digital India while we are totally disconnected.”

Nonetheless, I’m getting a nice stream from one of Maej Kasheer’s web pages. The Greater Kashmir newspaper has an interview with the Internet station’s founder, Kuldeep Saproo:

“We will reach out to our displaced . . . community, which is scattered across the world. With this initiative, we would like to make our community aware about our Kashmiri music, movies, drama, talk shows etc . . . for children born in exile after migration from Kashmir valley, the erosion of cultural values has played a significant part. Not only the language, but also our cultural traditions have suffered unprecedented damage. We want to revive language and culture among youngsters.”

Radio Rights WatchAmong Maej Kasheer’s goals outlined on its About page:

    1. Holding lessons and discussions on revival of Kashmiri language, with proper stress on diction, so that cultural renaissance could be attained which has lost it’s pristine glory because of the modern trend, where English has become the most sought after medium of expression.
    2. Holding regular discussions on universal brotherhood, national integration and eradication of evils from the society in present scenario.
    3. Holding regular discussions on History of KASHMIR, so that our youth get to know their cultural moorings.
    4. Catering to our scattered community is not densely located in one particular region,we decided to take internet approach and ultimately launching a full fledged F.M. Station on Akhnoor Road, Jammu, where we have already purchased 6 Kanals of land for the purpose.

As for the Internet ban, it comes as Muslims are celebrating the annual festival of Eid al-Adha around the world and marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage. Apparently the government fears “communal tension” as a J-K court has asked for implementation of a law that bans the production and marketing of beef. The government has been blocking ‘Net access on a day-by-day basis, so hopefully networks will open up again soon (if they haven’t already).

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