Siddharth Bokolia &
Ahmer Khan

Defending Kashmir: Anchar’s last stand against India’s control
Commissioned by The Guardian

Entry details.

WARNING: This video contains material that some viewers may find distressing

This short documentary was shot after India revoked Kashmir’s special status on 5 August 2019, and the state was put under a complete lockdown with a total communications blockade. Landlines, mobile, internet and cable TV were all blocked. In order to file the story, the filmmakers had to fly to Delhi to use the internet there. This report was made in the suburb of Anchar, in the heart of Srinagar. Determined to prevent Indian government forces from entering their community, people stood united in their desire to achieve freedom from India. Defying tear gas and pellets, they were the last remaining pockets of resistance in the country’s only Muslim-majority state.

Watch the full piece here.

Biographies

Ahmer Khan is an Emmy-nominated and award-winning freelance multimedia journalist from Indian-administered Kashmir. He covers conflict, humanitarian crisis, human rights and migration in South Asia. He has contributed to The Guardian, The New York Times, Vice News, Radio France International, The Christian Science Monitor and other publications. In 2019, he was awarded the Agence France-Presse Kate Webb Prize for his reporting on an unprecedented Kashmir lockdown enforced by India. Ahmer and his team’s film ‘India Burning’, which was part of the series by Vice News that aired on Showtime, was nominated for an Emmy in the ‘Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series’ category in 2020.

Siddharth Bokolia is a freelance video journalist based in New Delhi, India. He studied photography at the Udaan School of Photography in Mumbai. He has produced stories for Amnesty International, The Guardian, Vice News, The New York Times, TRT World and others, on topics from the Rohingya refugee crisis in Cox’s Bazar, to the Kashmir conflict and the most recent anti-citizenship law that rocked India.

Judges comments.

“This rare report took us to a place that the Indian government did not want us to see. Passionate and informative, it included an impressive range of locations and interviewees. The vivid imagery of violent clashes and the voices of women protesters captured the passion of the moment. The intimate interview with the protester whose body was still riddled with pellets showed us the personal cost. It was one of few reports from inside Kashmir – the judges praised the great effort and bravery it took to produce it.”

News Award Jury