Hindutva Group protests film screening, alleges anti-Indian Army contenttext_fields
Tensions escalated as members of a Hindutva group protested outside the venue of a film festival organized by the National Film Archive of India in Pune, alleging that the film ‘I Am Not the River Jhelum’ depicts the Indian Army in a negative light.
The police have arrested seventeen to eighteen individuals who held a protest.
According to Vipin Hasabnis, Police Inspector at the Deccan police station, protestors alleged that the film portrayed the Indian Army in a negative light.
The film, directed by Prabhash Chandra, explores life in the heavily militarised region of Kashmir through various character perspectives. Despite winning accolades, including the FFSI KR Mohanan award for Best Debut Director from India at the International Film Festival of Kerala in 2022, it has drawn criticism from certain quarters.
During a question-and-answer session following the screening, an unidentified individual approached Chandra, demanding the session's termination. Chandra, escorted by police for his safety, was reportedly led to another room, prompting concerns over freedom of expression.
This incident follows a recent assault at Pune's Film Television Institute of India, where a Hindutva mob disrupted activities, shouted slogans, and set fire to a banner with incendiary messages.
The mob also allegedly attacked student union officials, resulting in hospitalization. Subsequently, police arrested three individuals from the Hindutva group Hindu Jan Jagaran Sangathan, while seven students from the institute face charges under Sections 153B and 295A of the Indian Penal Code for actions deemed prejudicial to national integrity and insulting religious beliefs.
In a separate incident earlier in the week, journalist Nikhil Wagle, activist Vishwambhar Choudhary, and human rights lawyer Asim Sarode were targeted in a vehicular attack by alleged supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The attack comes amid ongoing tensions, with Wagle previously facing police charges for allegedly defamatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior BJP leader LK Advani.