Uncanny Valley

In Srinagar, “GO HOME INDIA,” reads one patch of graffiti in giant, looped letters; “SAVE GAZA,” reads another.  Olive-clothed soldiers, carrying massive guns, stand waiting and watching, while lines of vehicles are stopped and questioned.  A community in Bandipora is guarded by a military camp; its residents have been numbered and placed on watch.  Surveillance is a key facet of an occupation that is as visual as it is political. “Self-determination is our birthright!” became the rallying cry of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front in the early 1990s; many activists model themselves on their Palestinian peers. Young Kashmiris vent their alienation and frustration by chucking stones at Indian forces; boys are killed and detained by troops, and mourned by stricken mothers. 

As one journalist has described the situation, “Ninety-five per cent of Kashmir is Muslim, yet they are ruled by people who do not represent them, and who can be described as 'outsiders', i.e. an Indian army who has been sent to control them.”  

"Uncanny Valley," shot in the winter of 2014 in and around Srinagar, documents the militarization of Kashmir.  While Indian Army officials patrolled the streets,  the photos were shot around corners and through car windows, and convey a mood of watchfulness and suspicion.