|(AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)|
If you ask MC Kash, he's just speaking the truth. But Kashmir's breakout rapper's songs court rebellion and could land him in jail.
Kash calls himself a rebel who uses sharp rhymes and beats instead of stones or guns to protest India's rule over the mostly Muslim region in the Himalayas.
Kash, 20, whose real name is Roushan Illahi, has won a fan base among youth, whose summer uprising against Indian rule inspired his local hit "I Protest."
The lyrics — "Tales from the dark side of a murderous regime, an endless occupation of our land an' our dreams" — tread dangerously close to sedition in India, where questioning the country's claim to the is illegal.
"Rap is about straight talk and telling truth in the face, however uncomfortable it may be," the rapper said on a gloomy autumn day in the region's capital, Srinagar. "Rap is rebellion. Kashmir is rebellion. MC Kash is rebellion against injustice, oppression and falsehood."
Kash admitted he was scared last month after remarks by Booker Prize-winning author Arundhati Roy questioning India's claim to Kashmir generated angry demands for her arrest.
"Then I thought, revolutionaries don't fear persecution or execution," Kash said. "If they throw me in the prison ... I'll write on the (prison) walls."
Authorities deny going after those who are using the Internet or music as an outlet for their protests, saying their focus instead is on street protesters who hurl stones at law enforcement officers.
"Youth by nature are rebellious. But if it's going out of control, we would like to check it," said Shiv Murari Sahai, a top police officer. - By AIJAZ HUSSAIN, Associated Press