Nadav Lapid should apologise to community, say Kashmiri Pandits at Jammu protest

Published on Nov 29, 2022 05:23 PM IST

Ambassador Naor Gilon responded to the outrage over the comment with an open letter to Lapid on Twitter. Gilon said it was “insensitive and presumptuous to speak about historic events before deeply studying them

Israeli filmmaker and IFFI jury head Nadav Lapid speaks during the closing of the 53rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI), in Goa, Monday night (PTI)
Israeli filmmaker and IFFI jury head Nadav Lapid speaks during the closing of the 53rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI), in Goa, Monday night (PTI)

JAMMU: Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu on Tuesday staged a protest over the Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid’s comments on the movie, “The Kashmir Files” movie, saying the condemnation by the Israeli ambassador Naor Gilon wasn’t enough and that Lapid should apologise to the entire community.

“We are victims of genocide. We were raped and murdered. Our men were brutally butchered and someone from Israel makes an idiotic statement. It doesn’t make any sense.. he should apologize. We strongly condemn his statement,” said Asha Koul who was among the protestors.

Koul added: “Our exodus is no secret to this world. It would have been better, had the Israeli filmmaker assessed the ground situation and had he lived there in Kashmir before making such a statement”.

Nadav Lapid, the jury chair of the 53rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI), stoked a controversy on Monday by describing the movie on the 1990 exodus of Kashmiri Pandits as vulgar propaganda. The Kashmir Files was part of the pool of 15 films competing in the international section for the festival’s top prize.

“We (jury members) were, all of us, disturbed and shocked by the 15th film. By the movie Kashmir Files that felt to us like a propaganda, vulgar movie inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival,” said Lapid, an Israeli screenwriter and director who has won awards at the Cannes and Berlin film festivals.

Ambassador Naor Gilon responded to the outrage over the comment with an open letter to Lapid on Twitter. Gilon said it was “insensitive and presumptuous to speak about historic events before deeply studying them and which are an open wound in India”.

At the Jammu protest, Asha Kou said the movie showed only 5% of what the community had suffered.

Utpal Koul, a community leader from Global Kashmiri Pandit Diaspora, said, “our international co-founder Dr Surinder Koul, who lives in Houston had narrated the plight of Pandits to Vivek Agnihotri and then he had made the movie. I think this Israeli filmmaker doesn’t have any idea of Kashmir’s history and what the Pandit community suffered there. It seems this man was tutored. The I&B ministry is responsible for it.”

Another Pandit woman Vidisha Raina said while the community had taken note of the ambassador’s comments, the Indian government too should register its objection. “Why he called it vulgar and propaganda needs to be understood from the right perspective. His statement is part of the ecosystem in this country that had been peddling such propaganda against the community for the past 32 years now. The same ecosystem that claimed our exodus was engineered by the then governor Jagmohan,” she added.

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Jammu and Kashmir unit chief Ravinder Raina said the filmmaker’s comments reflected his lack of knowledge about the situation in J&K. “He (Lapid) should first visit the camps of displaced Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu and Kashmir. Such remarks are only expected from a person who does not know the ground situation and how people, irrespective of their religion, have suffered because of terrorism,” Raina told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Jammu.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    A principal correspondent, Ravi Krishnan Khajuria is the bureau chief at Jammu. He covers politics, defence, crime, health and civic issues for Jammu city.

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