| 20 June 2024, Thursday |

Israeli ambassador to India apologizes after filmmaker’s remarks spark uproar

A controversy in India over a video showing the emigration of the vast majority of Hindus in India from the contentious region of Kashmir elicited an apology from the Israeli envoy.

Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid, the president of the jury at a government-run film festival in the Indian state of Goa, called “The Kashmir Files” a “propaganda movie” that had no business being shown at a festival. This statement sparked indignation and criticism on social media.

The film, a runaway hit in India when released in March this year, tells the fictional story of a student who discovers his Kashmiri Hindu parents were killed by Islamist militants – and not in an accident as his grandfather had told him.

Lapid’s name was trending on Twitter for most of Tuesday and several users accused him of dismissing the portrayal of the exodus of Hindus from Muslim-majority Kashmir.

“Calling it ‘ugly’ and ‘propaganda’ is uncalled for and beyond any film Jury’s mandate. Their mandate should be limited to judging the film and not making political comments on public stage,” Twitter user Sunanda Vashisht said.

Israel’s ambassador to India, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan, Naor Gilon, issued an apology via Twitter. I feel guilty as a human and want to apologise to our hosts for the poor way we returned their kindness and friendliness, he said.

The movie, which centers on the bloody uprising in Kashmir in 1989–1990, has received accolades from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The film has received support from BJP and Modi supporters, and films posted online show moviegoers screaming, yelling, and waving Indian flags while the film is being screened.

But some opponents asserted that the movie would inflame anti-Muslim sentiment in a nation they worry is becoming increasingly divided along religious lines.

  • Reuters