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Kashmir's Torture Trail: film screening and Q&A with film maker Jezza Neumann

29th April 2014

Kashmir's Torture Trail: film screening and Q&A with film Kashmir's Torture Trail screeningmaker Jezza Neumann 

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.

In 2010 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 set India on a collision course with the international community.

Pervez ImrozKashmiri 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 suit and working pro-bono. Broke but determined, with two young children and a wife who complains 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.

Jezza NeumannAs stone-wielding Kashmiri youth fought pitched battles with the Indian security forces, BAFTA-winning film-maker Jezza Neumann 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.

DanishAlong 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.

Filmed, Directed & Edited by:  Jezza Neumann

Producer: Adrian Levy & Cathy Scott-Clark

Executive Producer: Brian Woods

Narrated by: Hugh Bonneville

 

Co-hosted with Amnesty International Cambridge City Group