NEW DELHI — First mobile phones and now their own dedicated TV programs: Kashmiris long left out of the technology loop due to an anti-India rebellion by Islamic militants are catching up.
But while mobile phones have been around the restive Himalayan region for 18 months after fear of rebels using them to coordinate attacks faded, Zee Telefilms has been beaming its made-in-Kashmir-for-Kashmiris content for just the past three weeks.
Zee Kashmir, an hourlong block airing from 6-7 p.m., has yet to fire the imagination of residents of the Indian zone of the divided state, who prefer the Hindi-lingo soaps broadcast nightly by India’s satellite channels.
The new Zee channel offers more serious pubcaster programming, mainly in Hindi.
Zee chairman Subhash Chandra wants Zee Kashmir to expand to a 24-hour channel that will reach across Asia and “even as far away as Europe and the United States.”
The channel, he added at a press conference in Srinagar, the main city in the Kashmir Valley, would provide the people of the region with a global platform.
Programming is being sourced from Kashmir through Zee’s strategic alliance with regional station Take One TV.
Tens of thousands of people have died since a separatist insurgency was launched in Indian Kashmir in 1989. India and Pakistan both continue to claim Kashmir as their own.