Fast forward at DD News

For now, it is behaving more like a public broadcaster and less like a government loudspeaker

In recent weeks, Kashmir has been in the news for one reason alone: the weather. We have been shown the Valley resplendent in white, with tourists enjoying the snow; then the snow hardened into ice as temperatures fell below freezing and you were glad to be able to admire the scenery from afar.

Now, suddenly, the stain of blood has seeped into the idyllic scene like ink on blotting paper, taking us back to a place and time we had thought was behind us: "Just in: curfew in Kashmir", "Just in: violent clashes in Sopore" (NDTV 24x7), "Just in: Yasin Malik shares platform with Hafiz Saeed. Should his passport be taken back?" Cable news, internet and mobile services have been suspended in the state since Afzal Guru was hanged on Saturday to prevent people from learning about events in the state. You wonder, for how long can the authorities contain a people thus?

Over the weekend, TV channels also handled with utmost care any news coming out of Kashmir of protests against Guru's hanging, lest they became the next victims of government censorship. So, although all the channels reported the general sense of outrage in the Valley and his family's reactions, although they allowed politicians from the mainstream to express their anguish — Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, PDP leaders like Mehbooba Mufti — we did not see or hear from the "common" man and woman, or directly from Guru's family. The protests since then have received similar treatment. At best, there's a correspondent standing in a deserted street, recounting the day's events. All the noise has been in the TV news studios. What else is new, or what else is news nowadays but the clashes in the studios?

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