Israeli envoy hits out at IFFI jury head for calling The Kashmir Files 'propaganda, vulgar film’

News Network
November 29, 2022

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On the back of IFFI jury head Nadav Lapid's comments on Vivek Agnihotri's The Kashmir Files, the Israeli Ambassador to India, Naor Gilon, on Tuesday penned an open letter to IFFI and Lapid, criticising the Israeli filmmaker for speaking on the Kashmir issue.

In the letter directed at Lapid, Gilon wrote, "YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED," adding that he, as the ambassador, "unequivocally" condemned the filmmaker's remarks on Agnihotri's movie.

"Feel free to use the liberty to sound your criticism of what you dislike in Israel but no need to reflect your frustration on other countries," Gilon urged Lapid.

"The friendship between Israel and India is very strong and will survive the damage you have inflicted," Gilon further wrote and offered his apologies in India.

Hours after Gilon's open letter, Israel's ex-Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon backed the current envoy, writing that Lapid "definitely should apologize for his revolting personal remarks on historical facts without any sensitivity,not really knowing what he was talking about."

As the row continued to get increasing attention, another Israeli diplomat, Consul General Kobbi Shoshani, also distanced Israel from Lapid's comments, saying, "He [Lapid] can say that it's the opinion of the Jury which is alright. But it has nothing to do with Israel."

Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid, who is the Jury head of IFFI (International Film Festival of India) 2022, has called director Vivek Agnihotri's film a "propganda, vulgar film", adding that he was "shocked" to see the film in the competition section of such a prestigious film festival.

"All of us are disturbed. It felt to us like a 'propaganda, vulgar movie' inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious competition. I feel totally comfortable in sharing these feelings openly on stage since the spirit of the festival truly accepts critical discussion which is essential for art and life," Nadav Lapid said on Day 2 of the event being held Goa's Panaji.

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News Network
January 22,2023

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At least nine people were killed and others hurt when a gunman opened fire at a dance studio in Monterey Park on Saturday night, according to law enforcement sources and witnesses.

The shooting occurred on the 100 block of West Garvey Avenue at around 10:22 p.m., the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.

Seung Won Choi, who owns a seafood barbecue restaurant on Garvey Avenue across from where the shooting happened, said three people rushed into his restaurant and told him to lock the door.

They said there was a man with a semiautomatic gun in the area. The shooter, they said, had multiple rounds of ammunition on him, so that once his ammunition ran out he reloaded, Choi said.

Wong Wei, who lives nearby, said his friend had gone to the dance club that night with a few of her friends. His friend was in the bathroom when the shooting started.

When she came out, he said, she saw a gunman and three bodies — two women and one person who he said was the boss of the club, Wei said. He said his friend escaped to his home around 11 p.m.

The shooter was carrying a long gun and appeared to fire indiscriminately, his friends told him.

“They don’t know why, so they run,” he said.

The shooting occurred near the site of a Chinese Lunar New Year celebration. Tens of thousands had gathered Saturday for the start of a two-day festival, one of the largest Lunar New Year events in the region.

Earlier in the day, crowds were enjoying skewers and shopping for Chinese food and jewelry. Saturday’s New Year festival hours were scheduled from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

John, 27, who declined to give his last name, lives near the shooting site. He got home around 10 p.m. and heard about 4 or 5 gunshots, he said. Then he heard police cruisers “smashing” down the street. He went downstairs at around 11:20 p.m. to see if the shooting occurred at the New Year festival.

“My first concern was I know they’re having a Lunar New Year celebration,” he said. But he said he saw that the festival had already been cleaned up for the day when he arrived. He went to the scene of the shooting and saw one person being put on a stretcher. Another person had a bandage on their arm.

Video on social media showed police and fire units swarming an area on Garvey Avenue and treating victims.

Injured people were taken to multiple hospitals in the area.

It was unclear if a suspect was in custody.

The violence left many in the area stunned.

Edwin Chen, a 47-year-old delivery dispatcher, rushed over from Woodland Hills to Monterey Park around 12:30 a.m. after hearing the news. Chen grew up in the area, he said, and about a dozen of his relatives and friends live there.

He said he was saddened this happened just as the community was celebrating Lunar New Year.

“This is [supposed to be] a happy time,” he said. “I want to find out as much as possible. It’s still shocking.”

“Our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones tonight in our neighboring city, Monterey Park, where a mass shooting just occurred,” Los Angeles City Controller Kenneth Mejia, the first Asian American to hold citywide office in L.A., said in a tweet.

Monterey Park, a city of 61,000 in the San Gabriel Valley, has a majority Asian American population. Located east of Los Angeles, the suburb is 65% Asian American, 27% Latino, and 6% white, according to census data.

One of the anchor suburbs in the San Gabriel Valley, Monterey Park is a hub of Asian American supermarkets and restaurants.

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News Network
January 28,2023

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Pune: A local court in Pune has acquitted all accused, including Hindu Rashtra Sena chief Dhananjay Jayram, in the case of lynching of Mohsin Shaikh, 28, in 2014. The court of additional Sessions judge SB Salunkhe, acquitted all accused in the case, defence lawyer Sudhir Shah said.

As many as 21 activists of the Hindu Rashtra Sena, a radical outfit, were booked in the case. Twenty of them were arrested by the police while one of them turned out to be a minor. All accused were later released on bail.

The case dates back to June 2, 2014, when Mohsin, an engineer by profession, was attacked while he was returning after offering prayers at a mosque in Hadapsar. The attack came in the wake of tensions prevailing in the city after certain objectionable images of Shivaji Maharaj and Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray were circulated on social media.

As per the FIR lodged by Mohsin’s brother at the Hadapsar police station in Pune, the assailants, allegedly owing allegiance to the HRS, intercepted Mohsin and his friend Riyaz Ahmed at Satav Plot in Unnati Nagar around 9.15 PM. “As Mohsin had a beard, a skull cap and was wearing a light green Pathani shirt, they attacked him with hockey sticks and banged a cement block on his head,” the FIR reads.

Mohsin died after a few hours while being treated at a hospital.

Initially, senior advocate Ujjwal Nikam was appointed as the Special Public Prosecutor in the case on the request by Mohsin’s family to then Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. However, Nikam’s appointment was opposed by Anjum Inamdar of the Rashtrapremi Kruti Samiti on June 12, 2014, citing Nikam’s links to right-wing groups.

Nikam’s appointment as the SPP was also opposed by Congress’ Rajya Sabha MP Hussain Dalwai in July 2014. Eventually, Nikam requested that his appointment be cancelled, which the government accepted in 2017. The case was subsequently argued by Ujjwala Pawar and later by Dhaigude Patil.

“It is unfortunate that all the accused were acquitted due to lack of evidence. We will support Mohsin’s family in the legal battle further,” Inamdar said.

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News Network
January 24,2023

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Jammu, Jan 24: Distancing his party from a controversial statement by a senior party leader, Rahul Gandhi today said the Congress disagreed with Digvijaya Singh's comments questioning India's surgical strikes and described the statement as "ridiculous".

"We disagree with Digvijaya Singh's views. The views of the party are above Digvijaya Singh's views," Rahul Gandhi said, responding to reporters' questions in Jammu on the sidelines of his Bharat Jodo Yatra.

"The views of the party are generated from a conversation. Digvijaya Singh's views are outlying views. They are not views held by the party. We are absolutely crystal clear - the armed forces do a job, and they do the job exceptionally well. They don't need to be providing proof," the Congress leader said.

Rahul Gandhi's clarification comes as the Congress faced massive criticism over Digvijaya Singh's comments at a Bharat Jodo Yatra rally on Monday.

"They talk about surgical strikes - that we killed these many people. But there is no proof. They are ruling by peddling a bundle of lies," Mr Singh had said.

Attempting damage control, the Congress said the remarks didn't reflect the party's views.

Mr Singh also said: "I have the greatest regard for the defence forces".

But the BJP seized on the comments and slammed him and the Congress as "anti-national" for questioning the army. The party also demanded Rahul Gandhi's apology.

"Congress leaders are doing Bharat Todo (divide India) on the instructions of Rahul Gandhi. Digvijaya Singh has become a symbol of venomous remarks. Trust in the Army is unbreakable and above politics. If the Army said there was a surgical strike, how can you ask for proof repeatedly. This shows that you do not have faith in our Army," said BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia.

"It has become a character of Congress to give irresponsible statements. But if they speak against the Indian Army, it won't be tolerated. It seems that Rahul Gandhi and Digvijaya Singh have been blinded by their hatred towards Narendra Modi," said the BJP leader.

India launched surgical strikes in 2016 days after 18 soldiers were killed in a terror attack on an army base in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir.

The February 2019 Pulwama attack on a security convoy was blamed on Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad.

Days after the attack, India retaliated with air strikes in Pakistan's Balakot, which was followed by an aerial dogfight between the neighbours.

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