On the last day of the Goa International Film Festival, the Israeli director Nadav Lapid, who topped the jury board, made the BJP and the Narendra Modi government extremely uncomfortable. While talking about the artistry of the films at the event, he publicly criticized Modi’s favourite film, Vivek Agnihotri’s ‘The Kashmir Files’. Lapid expressed dismay at the film, calling it ‘propagandistic and offensive’.
Yesterday was the last day of the nine-day film festival. Talking about the films from different countries participating in the festival, Lapid said, “There is no doubt about the artistic quality of 14 of the 15 films in competition. But we consider the fifteenth film ‘The Kashmir Files’ to be a propaganda and objectionable film. Such an important film. It was not right to put it in the film festival competition.” He added, “It’s nice to be able to stand on stage and tell you my thoughts openly. We also accept harsh words in the discussion. It is necessary for life and industry.” Lapid made these comments on stage, where several Union ministers were also present.
The reaction of the government officials
This incident has naturally made the ruling party BJP and government officials uneasy. Because, on March 15, Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself said in the meeting of the BJP’s parliamentary party, this movie made on the subject of the ousting of Pandits from Kashmir in the 90s has ‘highlighted many truths, which have been suppressed for so long’. The movie has been exempted from tax in many BJP-ruled states.
ED is resorting to violence: complains Baghel
Opposition allegations that the Narendra Modi government is misusing the Income Tax Department and the ED (Enforcement Directorate) to harass ABIJ states are not new. Meanwhile, a fresh allegation by Chhattisgarh Congress Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel added to the controversy. Baghel claimed that the ED and Income Tax department officials in his state raised hands and even beat them with rods during interrogation. There are also verbal threats. Later, when the Chhattisgarh bureaucrats were interrogated, the Chief Minister of that state demanded to be video graphed the whole time. Meanwhile, on Monday, the Union Home Ministry announced that ED can share information with 15 other investigative agencies like NIA, and SFIO.
Various economic crimes, especially allegations of disproportionate assets, are investigated by the Central Investigation Agency (ED) and the Income Tax Intelligence Bureau. The opposition alleges that the Modi-Amit Shah government at the Center is conducting searches and cases against leaders of BJP parties to embarrass them, while the BJP is also trying to put pressure on state government bureaucrats by interrogating them on various charges.
The ED and Income Tax Department has already summoned several such IAS and state civil service cadre officers for lengthy questioning in the Chhattisgarh coal transport corruption case. Baghel alleged that his officers were subjected to physical torture along with threats of long jail terms. Officers told him that he was even beaten with a rod. For this reason, Baghel demanded that the state bureaucrat’s videography of the entire interrogation.