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Israeli Filmmaker Nadav Lapid Sparks Outrage in India after calling The Kashmir Files “Vulgar Propaganda”

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An outrage has erupted in India after Israeli director Nadav Lapid described the controversial film The Kashmir Files as “propaganda” and a “vulgar movie” at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) late on Monday, November 28. Lapid, who was present at IFFI as a jury member, spoke against the inclusion of the film that was inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival.

At the closing ceremony of the 53rd International Film Festival of India. Lapid, the jury chief at this year’s edition of IFFI, also added that he was “disturbed and shocked” to see the film being screened at the film festival. After Lapid’s comments, a severe backlash followed from the Indian public, BJP politicians, and some of the film’s actors on social media, prompting the Israeli ambassador to India Naor Gilon to issue an explanation.

The Kashmir Files, directed by Vivek Agnihotri, revolves around the exodus and killing of Kashmiri Pandits from the Kashmir Valley in 1990. Since its premiere in March, it has been the subject of heated debate, with critics accusing it of distorting history and propelling an alternative view about the Kashmir issue, with the intent to not just provoke but incite an anti-Muslim agenda. The BJP, including the Prime minister, has openly endorsed the film with several states ruled by the party giving the film tax exemptions. The Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, has praised the film, congratulating its makers for having “the guts to portray the truth” and it was the second highest-grossing film in India this year.

Read here, The Kashmir Files: Is India Hiding Inconvenient Truths

Israeli ambassador Naor Gilon slams Lapid in an open letter for hurting Israel’s Ties with India

Naor Gilon, Israel’s ambassador to India, gave Lapid some of the sharpest criticism, telling him that he should be “ashamed” of his remarks and that it was “insensitive and presumptuous” of him to talk on a matter that has political and religious repercussions in India. The statements made by Lapid calling The Kashmir Files “Vulgar Propaganda” were “unequivocally condemned,” by Gilon.

Gilon said Lapid will go back to Israel thinking that he was bold and “made a statement”. “We, the representatives of Israel, would stay here. You should see our DM [Direct Messages] boxes following your ‘bravery’ and what implications it may have on the team under my responsibility.”

In a series of tweets, Gilon said he felt ashamed and wanted to apologize to their Indian hosts for the bad manner in which they repaid them for their generosity and friendship. Gilon also added he had written an open letter to Lapid.

“It’s not in Hebrew because I wanted our Indian brothers and sisters to be able to understand. It is also relatively long so I’ll give you the bottom line first. YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED.”

Gilon called the friendship between the states of India and Israel very strong. He also added that India and Israel’s bond will survive the damage Lapid has inflicted.

Also, read Indian Media’s Neglect of The Ruthless Opportunism in “The Kashmir Files”

Lapid’s response to the Israeli Ambassador and the backlash

In a 32-minute interview with Karan Thapar for The Wire, Lapid revealed that he has “received hundreds, maybe thousands, of threatening messages”. However, standing by what he said at IFFI, he mentioned that he stands behind every word that he said about The Kashmir Files.

“In a way it was my duty, my obligation. I was invited to be frank not to speak about vanities.”

“Criticising a movie is not criticising India or criticising what happened in Kashmir,” he added.

When asked about the Israeli ambassador’s remarks who, in a public letter to Lapid, said that he should be ashamed of himself and claimed he had insulted the Indian hospitality and damaged India-Israel relations.

Read here, How Practical is the Secular Democracy of India? Curbing of Religious Freedom in Kashmir

Lapid said: “I feel ashamed of this reaction of an Israeli diplomat.”

He also denied and rubbished the report of Hindustan Times, an Indian English-language daily newspaper, that reported him calling The Kashmir Files “brilliant movie” in an interview with India Today, another Indian media conglomerate.  

After his remarks at IFFI, many Indian news outlets also shared information about him apologizing for his remarks.

Speaking to Karan Thapar, he clarified that in a separate interview with CNN-News18, he was only apologizing if he hurt the feelings of the relatives of those who were killed in the exodus, but he was by no means apologizing for criticizing the film.

Also, read Bollywood’s portrayal of Kashmir- Journey Of Representation From Heaven To Hell

Nadav Lapid’s fellow foreign jury members support his stance, excluding Sudipto Sen from their official statement

Lapid’s co-jury members at IFFI Goa this year were Spanish documentary filmmaker Javier Angulo Barturen, French film editor Pascale Chavance, American film producer Jinko Gotoh and Indian film director Sudipto Sen.

While Indian filmmaker Sudipto Sen has told the Indian Express that discussions about the subject of The Kashmir Files were private and that Lapid acted on his own. BAFTA winner Jinko Gotoh made it clear that she and two of her fellow jurors Barturen and Chavance stand by Lapid’s comments at IFFI regarding The Kashmir Files (2022) being a “propaganda” movie. A joint statement signed by them was posted on Twitter from Gotoh’s handle. Clarifying that the jury’s observation on The Kashmir Files was unanimous, the joint statement said:

“At the festival’s closing ceremony, Nadav Lapid, the jury’s president, made a statement on behalf of the jury members stating: We were all of disturbed and shocked by the 15th film, The Kashmir Files, that felt to us like a vulgar propaganda movie, inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival. We stand by his statement.”

This statement was made at a time when many people were speculating that Lapid, a politically conscious director, gave his own viewpoint rather than the jurors’ during the IFFI closing ceremony.

Read here, Kashmiri Pandits Face Targeted Killings

Post IFFI row, Vivek Agnihotri announces ‘Kashmir Files’ follow-up film

Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri has announced a follow-up movie titled “The Kashmir Files Unreported” to “reveal the real truth” after challenging the IFFI jury and Israeli director Nadav Lapid to disprove the veracity of the events shown in his film The Kashmir Files

In an interview with Aaj Tak, Agnihotri said, “I will soon reveal if it will be a web series or a documentary. This is beyond art now and is more about the reputation of the country and it is my moral responsibility that whatever proof I have with me, I bring them out and present it in front of people,”.

The much-contested film, which opened to conflicting reactions following its release in March this year, starred Anupam Kher, Pallavi Joshi, Mithun Chakraborty, and Darshan Kumar.

Following Lapid’s remarks, Joshi and Kher both criticised the Israeli director. Lapid was labeled a genocide denier by Joshi, while Kher branded him as “a person who himself is vulgar and an opportunist.”

Also, read The Forgotten Jammu Massacre

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Rasmus Baludan is racist, Ignoramus, provocateur, and liar

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Rasmus Paludan burning Quran.

Seeking to become a publicity hound before contesting elections in Sweden, scheduled for September,  the right-wing Danish-Swedish politician Rasmus Baludan has apparently decided to recruit supporters and fans by resorting to an unlikely and un-classical method: Setting copies of the Holy Quran on fire.

Rasmus Baludan, the racist hoodlum, hoped and probably still hopes that by showing off his Islamophobia by provoking Muslims and offending their religious sensibilities, he would woo supporters and potential voters in Sweden. To his chagrin,  the vast majority of people in Denmark and Sweden ignored him.  In the Swedish city of Jonkoping,  A priest named Reverend Fredrik Hol drowned out an inflammatory anti-Islam rally by Baludan by ringing his church bells.

The feat succeeded in shutting up the racist harangue for some time. On behalf of nearly 1800 million adherents of Islam, I would like to salute Reverend Hol and thank him for his sublime gesture and noble behaviour.

Also Read: UN International Day to Combat Islamophobia: A Recognition to Hardships for the Muslims

 Moreover, a special expression of gratitude goes to our Christian brothers and sisters in Sweden and Denmark who refused to allow the good name of Jesus Christ to be besmirched by the germ of bigotry, racism, and fanaticism. Jesus wouldn’t stir up fitna ( tumult and turmoil) to attract voters and get elected.

Baludan reportedly intends to run in the upcoming Swedish elections, scheduled for next September. However,  he seems to have failed to secure enough signatures to run for office, prompting observers to suggest that he may have taken the provocative act of burning copies of the Holy Quran, in order to woo Swedish voters.

In the 2018 elections in Denmark, Rasmus Baludan’s party “Straam Cox”,failed to win a single seat in Parliament, He was imprisoned in 2020 in Denmark for one month reportedly after being convicted of racism.

Also Read: Combating Racism – Lived Experiences

I  believe setting the religious scripture of Islam on fire, besides being an uncivilized and outrageous act, is an expression of extreme ignorance and intolerance.

After all, there is absolutely nothing in the Quran that denigrates Jesus and his immaculate chaste mother, Mary.” The opposite is true, Jesus is celebrated in the Quran as one of the five greatest messengers of God, who include beside him, Noah,  Abraham Moses and Muhammed.

  Interestingly, the fool of Copenhagen or Stockholm invoked the mantra of freedom of expression to justify his repulsive misdeed.

Well, what about the right to be free from being insulted and offended?


Doesn’t one’s freedom end, when another person’s freedom begins? In Matthew 5:29 we read “If thy right eye offends thee, pluck it out and cast it away from you.”

Thus, freedom of speech and expression is not absolute, otherwise, words soon morph into bullets and bombs,  and bloodshed is the inevitable outcome of this folly.

Furthermore, life is not a straightforward mathematical equation. Besides the proscribed rights and privileges, there are other paramount values in life that are not recorded in a law book,  such as respect, humility, kindness,  tolerance, love, and wisdom.

Also Read Bike of Life: How to ride, survive, and Cheer!

Rasmus Baludan, instead of behaving like Peter the hermit who incited  Europe against the Muslim near East, about a thousand years ago, causing the death of millions of people in the infamous Crusades, should behave like a messenger of love and peace. The Prophet Muhammed (may the peace and blessing of God be upon him) said in the authentic Hadith: You will not be able to win the hearts of people with your money, so win them with your love, kindness, and sound morality.

Also Read: Why Humanity Should Be Thankful to Prophet Muhammad

Finally, a few words to my Muslim brothers and sisters

Don’t be provoked by fools like Rasmus Baludan. Don’t lose your calm and composure, for this is his exact aim. This is because once you lose your mental equanimity, you let Satan take over you.

Remember this Aya “And do not insult those who invoke other than Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge. Thus We have made pleasing every community their deeds. Then to their Lord is their return, and He will inform them about what they used to do.” [6:108]

I am not suggesting that we should succumb to apathy and passivity and do nothing. But we should do much more than just vent our frustration and indignation. For the sake of Islam, and in order to triumph over such fanatic ignoramuses, we often need to suppress our frustration.

More to the point, we must exhaust all efforts to cooperate with people of goodwill regardless of creed and ethnicity. Needless to say,  this is undoubtedly a vital and crucial dimension for our

Success.

Also Read: 2 Billion Muslims must send a Stern warning to India’s Nazi-like government to stop its anti-Islam discourse

Moreover,  remember that every people under the sun has their own bran, and Rasmus Baludan should be viewed as the bran of his people. And yes, we are not perfect ourselves as we do have people like him or even worse!

In fact, it is absolutely unwise and immensely damaging for Muslims, especially Muslim expatriates in the West, to erupt in fury every time an anti-Islam villain provokes Muslims by making a stupid, offensive slur, or desecrating Islamic symbols, or even burning a copy of Islam’s Holy Book.  The Quran is preserved in our hearts, and no idiot or little man can extricate the word of Allah from a believer’s heart.  Indeed, instead of displaying convulsive rage, and shouting meaningless and pugnacious slogans, we should behave with serenity, calm, and dignity lest we inadvertently convey to the world a damaging message about ourselves and about our great religion. And if we don’t behave, we will have only ourselves to blame, since the vast majority of non-Muslims don’t distinguish between what Islam says and what some Muslims do.

Also Read: Islam in 2075: World’s Largest Religion!?

So, let the dogs keep barking, and the caravan keep going. For if stones are thrown at the barking dogs, they will only bark more loudly and become more aggressive and ferocious.

Remember, nothing, absolutely nothing would hurt and disappoint these hoodlums more than your self-composure and non-violent reactions, and nothing would please them more than your screams and indulgence in violence, verbal and otherwise.

Display Islam’s glorious message, and never act on your primitive impulses and defensive reflexes for revenge.

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The Russian invasion of Ukraine: Will more states seek to acquire Nuclear weapons?

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Nuclear weapons in Ukraine

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is prompting many states around the world to reconsider their national defence strategies. Governments have privately and openly voiced their apprehension about the growing fragility of the post-WWII international order, especially the utter inability of the UN and its Security Council to prevent powerful hegemonic nations, such as Russia, from attacking and occupying and annexing large territories of less powerful neighbours, such as Ukraine.

Some leaders and diplomats have warned that, in light of the clear impotence of the UN in tackling the Ukrainian crisis,  and in the absence of a nuclear deterrent of their own, some vulnerable non-nuclear states will be forced to either acquire Nuclear weapons to achieve a semblance of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) vis-à-vis potential predators or seek a military alliance with some established nuclear powers for the same purpose.

Zelensky: “Ukraine will be like a Big Israel”

Speaking to reporters a few days ago, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy  told reporters that post-war Ukraine  would be like “a big Israel.”

He didn’t clarify what he exactly meant by drawing the Israeli analogy.

However, it was amply clear that he was alluding to the contemplated acquisition of a sizeable Nuclear weapon, like that of Israel, in order to deter a future possible Russian invasion. Ukraine had given up its Nuclear weapons to Russia following the downfall of the former Soviet Union.

Read Also: Rectifying Nuclear Imbalance with Israel should be a strategic priority for Egypt, SA and Turkey

However, experts argue that Ukraine could fairly quickly renew its Nuclear weapon since the country already possesses the technical and scientific infrastructure which it inherited from the Soviet era.

Hence, Ukraine wouldn’t have to begin from scratch in case it decided to renew its nuclear weapon program.  Moreover, Ukraine could start producing enriched uranium for military purposes in a few days, depending on the decision of the political leadership.  Shortly after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine 11 months ago, Ukraine’s defence officials voiced their deep remorse for having given up their former nuclear arsenal. In light, it is almost certain that the current leadership in Kyiv will decide to revive the nuclear option as soon as an opportune time arises.

Medvedev: Russian defeat in Ukraine would trigger a nuclear war

Nuclear weapon in Russia
The ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine is prompting many states to acquire nuclear weapons

This weak, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev warned NATO of nuclear war if Russia was defeated in Ukraine.

Medvedev, an ally of Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin, warned that a Russian defeat in Ukraine could trigger a nuclear war. “The defeat of a nuclear power in a conventional war may trigger a nuclear war,” Medvedev, who serves as deputy chairman of Putin’s powerful security council, reportedly said in a post on the Telegraph.

“Nuclear powers have never lost major conflicts on which their fate depends,”.

Warning should be taken seriously


Undoubtedly, Medvedev’s warnings contain an important element of rhetorical sabre-rattling and psychological warfare. However, this writer believes the West ought to take the warnings quite seriously.

There are sufficient reasons that should make us think twice before dismissing the above doomsday warnings as hot air. Indeed, a Russian defeat in Ukraine would have far-reaching global consequences and ramifications.

Indeed, a decisive and humiliating Russian defeat in Ukraine would very likely be the most important strategic international game-changer not only since the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1989 but also since the 1917 Bolshevik revolution in Russia. Russia would morph into a boiling cauldron of anger and furious indignation.

Thus, the demand for the use of nuclear weapons to avert a possible Russian defeat in Ukraine would gain massive popularity throughout Russia. The galvanization of Russia’s 145  million population would be the penultimate step leading to the kremlin’s decision to press the nuclear button.

Nuclear is futile if not used when needed

 After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Advocates for the nuclear option would convincingly argue that nuclear weapons would lose their raison detre if they failed to protect the possessor country, the motherland, when needed most, e.g., when the country faces the prospect of defeat and humiliation in war. The question of who is the aggressor and who is the victim would be almost irrelevant in such an atmosphere. Moreover, the US, which used the first ever and last nuclear weapon against Japan in 1945, would not be in a moral position to lecture Russia on the evils of using nuclear weapons.

 The Russian invasion of Ukraine: Gigantic Dilemma

A Russian victory or defeat in Ukraine would cause the current international order,  instated after WWII,  to collapse. A decisive Russian defeat in Ukraine, which seems unlikely at least now,  would likely irreversibly paralyze or effectively terminate the UN and its Security Council. The UN would virtually become completely at the US beck and call. 

On the other hand, a decisive Russian victory, which is also unlikely, would turn the international order upside down and transform the world into a real jungle.

Read Also: The Encircling of World War III – Iran Uranium Enrichment

A Russian victory would probably encourage certain states to emulate Russia and carry out naked aggressions of their own against militarily weaker foes or neighbouring states. Certain possible scenarios come to the mind in this regard.

China might be emboldened to invade and occupy Taiwan if Russia emerged as winner.

Israel might well decide to seize the opportunity and  wage an all-out war on Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for the purpose of liquidating the Palestinian issue once and for all. In the process, Israel might carry out huge massacres of Palestinians and embark on the demolition of Islamic holy places in Jerusalem especially the Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock.  Moreover, Israel might also decide to carry out massive airstrikes on Iranian cities or even drop nuclear bombs under the rubric of destroying the Iranian nuclear program and preventing the recurrence of the Holocaust!

Read Also: What Xi Jinping Aims, Acquires – The Return of Persistent President

Other possible scenarios would probably include a possible all-out war by North Korea against South Korea, and a naked aggression by Russian-backed  Serbia against  Bosnia and Kosovo.

Conclusion

I am not a prophet of doom and gloom, but it is always safer to assume that the worse could happen. There is no doubt that a new world order would appear after the end of the Russian invasion of Ukraine regardless of the outcome of the war . There is also little doubt that the post-Ukraine war will witness more military and strategic polarization than ever. However, the gravest problem facing the post-war world order would, almost certainly, take the form of many states seeking actively to acquire nuclear weapons for their own national defence. Therefore, the nuclear proliferation issue would be the number-1 problem facing the world, with the chances of a nuclear accident or miscalculation reaching terrifying levels. (end) 

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BBC’s Modi Documentary Rattles Modi Government

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BBC Documentary on Modi

BCC recently released a documentary on India’s controversial right-wing Prime Minister Narendra Modi rattling Modi and his ruling party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The documentary’s first episode titled “India: The Modi Question” which was released in the UK on 17th January drew a sharp reaction from the Modi government.

Modi Government Blocks the Documentary in India

The Modi government moved swiftly to block the documentary in India. Proving right the critics of IT Rules, 2021, the Modi government’s Ministry of Information & Broadcasting invoked emergency powers under the IT Rules, 2021 to order YouTube to take down all the videos that had published the first episode of the documentary. Orders were also issued to Twitter to take down all the tweets that had posted the link to the documentary. Both YouTube and Twitter complied with the orders, removing all the posts and videos flagged by the government.

The government alleged that the documentary was found to be “undermining sovereignty and integrity of India, and having the potential to adversely impact India’s friendly relations with foreign states”, which allowed for the invocation of the emergency powers under the IT Rules, 2021. The government also alleged that the documentary questions the credibility of the Supreme Court of India and attempts to sow divisions among different communities while also making unsubstantiated allegations regarding the activities of foreign governments in India.


Earlier India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesperson dismissed the documentary as a “propaganda piece that lacks objectivity and reflects colonial mindset”. The spokesperson also questioned the timings of the release of the documentary.

Also Read: Why Is Indian PM Modi’s Silent About Attacks Against Muslims?

The Documentary

The documentary’s first episode produced by the BBC tracks Modi’s “first steps into politics”- his association with the right-wing Hindu extremist organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), his rise through the ranks of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and further his appointment as Chief Minister of the state of Gujarat in 2001 till 2014. As the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Modi’s involvement in and his response to a series of communal riots in 2002 remains a source of controversy.


The documentary highlights a previously unpublished report, obtained by the BBC from the British Foreign Office, which raises questions about Modi’s actions during the religious riots. The report claims that Modi was “directly responsible” for the “climate of impunity” that enabled the violence.


The report cited by the BCC was part of an inquiry ordered by the then foreign secretary Jack Straw. The reports say that “the extent of violence was much greater than reported” and “the aim of the riots was to purge Muslims from Hindu areas”.
Jack Straw is heard in the documentary saying, “these were very serious claims that Mr Modi had played a proactive part in pulling back police and in tacitly encouraging the Hindu extremists. That was a particularly egregious example of political involvement to prevent police from doing their job to protect the Hindus and the Muslims.”

Also Read: Gujrat Riots: Has Indian Democracy Breathed its Last?

Modi’s Role in Gujarat Riots of 2002

It is the documentary’s highlight of the Gujarat riots of 2002 that has rattled the Modi government.


The Gujarat riots of 2002 claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people. Most of those killed were Muslims. Modi is alleged to have instigated the riots and further prevented the police and the army from taking any action to stop the riots. Most of the reports published on the Gujarat riots by the Indian media as well as the international media point out Modi’s direct role in facilitating the riots. It has been claimed that Modi gave a free hand to Hindu extremists to kill Muslims and the aim was to purge Hindu localities of Muslims.


Modi has rejected these accusations. Further, in 2013 an investigation approved by the Indian Supreme Court absolved Mr. Modi of complicity in the rioting. Based on that finding, a court in the state of Gujarat found that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him.

Also Read: Why BJP is Fascist Despite Contesting Elections.?

Action Taken by Foreign Countries against Modi

Like the above-cited British Foreign Office report, there were many countries that were convinced of Modi’s role in the killing of Muslims during the riots. Concerned countries acted against Modi at different levels.


Modi was banned entry into the U.S. for more than a decade for his role in the riots. In 2005, Modi became the only person ever to be denied a U.S. visa under the 1998 law on violations of religious freedom. The U.S. State Department invoked a little-known U.S. law passed in 1998 that makes foreign officials responsible for “severe violations of religious freedom” ineligible for visas. The ban on Modi’s travel to the U.S. was revoked by the Obama administration in 2014 after he became the prime minister of India.

Also Read: How Practical is the Secular Democracy of India? Curbing of Religious Freedom in Kashmir

A Permanent Stain on Modi’s Career

Modi may have achieved great things in his political career, but the stain of the Gujarat riots is permanent on his career.


Modi loves the camera. He loves advertising and branding himself. Modi puts his picture on everything. He loves hearing his voice. However, ever since he became the prime minister of India, he has never given an unscripted interview to the media. He has also never held a press conference in India or abroad. It has been claimed that Modi does not want difficult questions about his attitude towards the Muslim minority of India thrown at him.

When Modi became the prime minister of India, Indian liberals were hopeful that Modi had changed. They were wrong in their assessment that Modi as a prime minister would be inclusive. However, after Modi’s eight years as a prime minister now, he has not changed his attitude towards Muslims. As of now, Muslims are increasingly persecuted by his government.

This author highly recommends that you watch the BBC documentary on Modi. Its first episode has been released here (if you are outside the UK watch it here or use VPN). The next episode will be available on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, at 21:00.

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