A California-based artist, Jamie De Wolf, has created a stir on social media by posting mermaid pictures of his partner Iara Mandyn at Jammu and Kashmir's Dal Lake. The pictures show a scantily clad Iara sitting on a houseboat in a remote corner of the lake.
In her Facebook post, Iara reveals that it took a lot of efforts and courage to dress up like that in a traditionally conservative society where women generally are covered from head to toe.
However, it is not just the pictures which have caught the eye of people but supposedly a 'secret mission' of the couple in the guise of a mermaid shoot.
According to Jamie's post on Facebook, the real purpose of his Kashmir visit during June was to speak to the people in the valley about human rights abuses and other torture they suffered at the hands of the state.
"My partner Iara Mandyn and I were flying in with a cover story of doing a mermaid shoot. We scattered various film gear across our suitcases and checked in the mermaid tail. But what we were REALLY doing was secretly filming dozens of interviews with torture victims of the Indian state, protesters who'd been beaten, blinded, amputees missing fingers and legs, horror stories end upon end. There were grenade attacks while we there, a citywide strike, protesters ran over and killed. I won't lie that it was a shaky experience. Watching people get snatched off the street in front of our hotel while I had explosive footage hiding in my room was intense," Jamie wrote on his Facebook page.
While calling Kashmir as the most militarised zone on Earth, he calls Kashmir not exactly a 'top tourist' location but a place filled with grief and guns.
Jamie said that the interviews of the people whom he met would come out in next few days and the report would be a comprehensive one on human rights abuses in Kashmir.
Iara calls Kashmir gorgeous but filled with a lot of tension. "The story behind these photos is way crazier than the image could ever convey. They were sooooo close to not happening. The region is insanely gorgeous but there's a lot of tension in Kashmir right now, so we were quite wary the entire time we were there. We almost scrapped the idea but then by luck found an awesome guide, and a boatman who was willing to take us out. Almost all of the women there cover up from ankle to neck even in the blazing heat of summer, and don't swim. We didn't wan't to cause a stir, so we rowed out to a remote part of the lake to be able to capture these. So many thanks to everyone who made these happen," Iara wrote on her Facebook page.