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“Unnecessary controversy created around The Kashmir Files”: Indian High Commissioner in New Zealand writes to the chief censor over review of the movie

Indian High Commissioner in New Zealand Muktesh K Pardeshi requested Chief Censor David Shanks to take a holistic, balanced and fair view on the basis of law and not on basis of disinformation and political activism

After the chief censor of New Zealand David Shanks said that he will be re-evaluating the certificate issued to The Kashmir Files after Muslim organisations raised objections to it, Indian High Commissioner to New Zealand Muktesh K Pardeshi has written to him regarding the matter. The High Commissioner has said that an unnecessary controversy has been created around the movie in New Zealand, and asked the censor to take a balanced and fair view in the matter.

The High Commissioner wrote to after the Chief Censor of New Zealand had said that the R16 certificate issued to The Kashmir Files was under review. The censor had said that after the certificate was issued, concerns were raised about potential risk of harm to the Muslim community in relation to the release of the film. David Shanks had added that these concerns appeared to them to be genuine, “and sufficiently serious to cause us to pause and review our classification for this film.”

While the chief censor had said that the movie will not be banned, he had said that it will be reviewed due to the concerned raised. As a result, the release of the movie in New Zealand was also postponed. The Indian High Commissioner to New Zealand has objected to this move, saying that “an unnecessary controversy has been created in New Zealand during the weekend regarding the film and its planned release.”

The High Commissioner said that he has been informed that some organizations led by the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) have approached the New Zealand Government, including the Prime Minister, urging to stop the release of the film. “There are concerning reports that the Office of the Chief Censor is under tremendous political pressure,” he added.

Muktesh K Pardeshi said that he has been receiving calls and emails from Kiwi moviegoers and members of the Indian diaspora who have been looking forward to watch the movie in theatres. Talking about the movie, he states that the movie is about exodus of Kashmiri Hindu Pandits and gruesome atrocities perpetrated by the extremists on them in the 1990s, and it intends to educate future generations about the menace of extremism and terrorism.

He said that the movie has been watched by the Indian political leadership including PM Narendra Modi, who said that “it is not an issue about a Film, but that of ‘bringing out the truth’ and ‘presenting history’ in its correct perspective”. Pardeshi also informed that several leaders in New Zealand have supported the movie and opposed any censorship, including former Deputy PM Winston Peters, MP Melissa Lee and MP David Seymour.

The letter states that the movie has been released in several countries worldwide where it has been received well by the audience.

The High Commissioner added that an erroneous, biased and politically- motivated impression is being created in the minds of New Zealand audience that the film is likely to create a sense of disharmony and Islamophobia. He said, “the film is about a tragic episode which occurred more than 3 decades ago and the present generation deserves to know historical events in a correct and truthful perspective. There has been no cases of disharmony and any breach of peace in India or elsewhere in the world where the film is currently being shown.”

The letter to the chief censor emphasizes, “We all believe in the fundamental principle of freedom of expression. If there were no freedom of expression, the human kind would have not seen films and books on wars, holocaust, political conflicts and other tragic historical events”.

Therefore, Muktesh K Pardeshi requested David Shanks to take a holistic, balanced and fair view of the matter within the remit of the Films, Videos, and Publication Classification Act 1993, and not as a result of “disinformation and political activism led by some sections of vested interests”.

Petition launched to prevent censorship of The Kashmir Files in New Zealand

In the meanwhile, an online petition has been launched on Chgange.org to urge the New Zealand government to allow release of the movie The Kashmir Files, and not surrender to the pressures of radical Islamist groups.

The petition states that many Organisations with malicious intents are blocking the release of the film in New Zealand. Therefore, it urges people to show support for release of the movie in New Zealand.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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