SRINAGAR: After a week-long row over a documentary that a Russian TV was scheduled to telecast on February 11, producers have announced an indefinite postponement of its premiere. They have even removed the controversial teaser that triggered a lot of heat and dust.

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi receiving Russian Federation President, Vladimir Putin in Delhi on October 4, 2018. Pic: PMO

The documentary, reports appearing in media said was produced by Berlin-based media portal, Redfish Media, an affiliate company of Moscow based RT, the official broadcaster of Russia.

Though nobody knew the exact contents of the film, Kashmir: Palestine in Making, the film’s teaser posted on social media indicated what it might have carried: “Indian Kashmir is fast becoming a settler-colonial state.” It was this line that actually triggered a massive backlash from India, which eventually reached a level where Moscow’s mission in Delhi had to distance itself from the documentary and explain things publicly.

There were two angles to the film controversy. One, the backlash and diplomatic issues involving Delhi and Moscow, days ahead of the Pakistan premier’s Moscow visit. Two, the social media platforms of the filmmaker is categorised the Redfish Media as “state-affiliated media”, suggesting it is funded by Russian Federation.

Producers said they postponed the release in response “to the security concerns of journalists and contributors involved in the documentary”.

“In response to the security concerns of journalists and contributors involved in our documentary on Kashmir, we have taken the difficult decision to remove the trailer of this documentary and postpone its release,” the media outlet said in a statement posted on Twitter, insisting the response to its teaser was “horrifying”.

“Within 24 hours, India’s major newspapers, TV stations and prominent journalists from India and the US were framing the teaser as a bilateral issue between Russia and India,” the statement by the filmmaker said. “They speculated that it was a clear sign of Russia and China unifying at the expense of India in the wake of Presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin’s meeting on the same day we published the trailer, or that it was timed ahead of Putin’s meeting with Pakistani Premier Imran Kahn – all evidence of Russia moving against India.”

Russian premier Kosygin with his counterparts from India and Pakistan at Tasknet – Ayub Khan and L B Shastri

Prior to the Redfish media statement, the Russia mission in Delhi issued a detailed statement. “The Russian official position on the issue of Kashmir and Russia’s principled stance on non-interference in bilateral disputes remain unchanged,” the statement issued by the Russian embassy in Delhi said. “The solution should be found between India and Pakistan only, and it should be based on the achieved agreements, including the Simla Agreement of 1972 and the Lahore Declaration of 1999.”

Delhi did not officially react to the developments so far.

Claims apart, the release of the teaser of February 5, and the premier scheduled for February 11, also told a peculiar side of the story, that said many things without actually saying it.


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