A poster of well-known Bollywood film Kashmir ki Kali showing lead actor Sharmila Tagore with an apparent pellet injury to her eye has gone viral on social media, with many using it to decry the ongoing violence in the Valley. The poster was created by Kashmiri cartoonist Mir Suhail, who has been using social media to put up his latest works, all influenced by the current crisis.
Suhail's cartoons focus on the plight of the locals at the hands of the security forces. The Kashmir Ki Kali poster reflects the damage caused by pellet guns used by the Central Reserve Police Force to quell the protests that have broken out in the Valley since Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed.
With the hashtag #Kashmirbleeding, Suhail has posted several art work on the issue, most of them taking a critical stand towards the central and state government's handling of the civilian protests. His work also shows right-wing politicians and the role of the media in the Kashmir crisis.
Speaking to The Hindu, Suhail said, "My attempt to recreate the poster, where Sharmila Tagore is hit in one eye by pellets, and Shammi Kapoor has an expression of disgust, is to highlight the pain inflicted on this kali [girl]. There is no romance left about the place or the people."
Suhail is not only the only one using art to draw attention to the tension in Kashmir. Artist Masood Hussain has created a series of grayscale posters of Kashmiri boys with shrunken pupils in the shape of shikaras. "It pains to see kids being blinded by pellets. All that an artist can do is stroke the canvas with that pain," Hussain told the English newspaper.
Communication agency BlackSheep.Works founded by Kashmir resident Asif Amin Tibet Baqual has also been posting illustrations and posters on Twitter highlighting the problems in the Valley. Baqual created Braille posters to add to the anti-pellet gun campaign on the social media initiated and carried forward by people across the country. "The anti-pellet campaign ‘kashmirblindspot’ is for the world community. Kashmir, unfortunately, has turned into a blind spot. The Braille style is used as Kashmir is talking to ‘blind’ people," he said.
At least 55 locals have been killed in incidents related to protests against Wani's killing in an encounter on July 8. Thousands of protestors have suffered permanent injuries from the pellet guns used by security forces to handle angry mobs. Several police and army personnel have also been hurt in clashes in the region. The region has been under curfew for the past 31 days.