Vivek Agnihotri threatens to sue Oxford Union for ‘canceling me’

Vievk Agnihotri is threatening to sue the Oxford Union. Photo: Instragram / Vivek Agnihotri

Vivek Agnihotri’s film The Kashmir Files has not only been the biggest money-spinner among Hindi movies made this year but has also been the most topical and socially-relevant cinema in recent times, enjoying worldwide success and acclaim even from foreigners across the globe. The film has also streamed globally on ZEE5 from May 13.

The writer-filmmaker is now almost known as a social crusader, is now planning to sue the Oxford Union.  And why is he doing that? In a video message threatening to file a lawsuit against the student-run debating society at Oxford University after the union rescheduled his event from May 31 to July 1, Vivek termed the incident “Hinduphobic” and pointed out that Hindu students are a minority at Oxford University and that the president-elect is a Pakistani (Pakistan-born Ahmad Nawaz, 21).

He thundered, “Are they cancelling me? No, they want to cancel the democratically-elected government of India, especially Narendra Modi. They want to label us a fascist people, as Islamophobic.”

He went on in the video, “As you are aware, I am here in Europe on a humanity tour. This tour was decided because a lot of prestigious places invited me, like Cambridge University, Oxford University, the British Parliament and a lot of places in Germany and the Netherlands. But yesterday, a very strange thing happened. When I reached Cambridge University, at the last minute, I was told that we cannot video-record the event. Now, this is a 100 percent curbing of freedom of expression. This happened because a few Pakistani and Kashmiri Muslim students protested against it. These are genocide denials, they are fascists. Their logic is, perhaps, what they write on social media that I support a democratically-elected Government of India.”

He went on, “This is the same university where Subhash Chandra Bose studied, but recently, on his 150th birth anniversary, he was called a fascist.”

Talking about the Oxford event, the director went on, “Now another strange thing happened. Today I was supposed to speak at Oxford University because Oxford Union invited me a long time ago. It was all confirmed via emails, but just a few hours before, they said, ‘Sorry we made a mistake, there was a double-booking and we cannot host you today.’ And without even asking me, they changed the date to July 1, when no student would be there, and there is no point in doing an event.”

Vivek stated that they were not canceling him but the genocide and Hindus themselves, “As if killing thousands of Kashmiri Hindus was not Hinduphobic, but making a film on the truth is Islamophobic.” He pointed out that the same university hosted dictators and fascists, including Bhutto’s son and many African radical extremists. “This is fascism. I am filing a lawsuit against them.”

He pleaded with viewers, “So please help me in this cause. I am going to claim all the damages. Please support me and join me.” Vivek also tweeted on the same topic.

Agnihotri is currently on a Europe tour to talk on “India after The Kashmir Files”. On May 30, he spoke at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, and earlier on May 28 at the Nehru Centre in London. He has an event planned at UK’s Parliament on June 8. He will speak also in Germany and the Netherlands.

The Times of India added that Rashmi Samant, who had to step down as the first female Indian president-elect of the Oxford University Student Union after being trolled and bullied, said, “The Union has platformed people like Mehdi Hasan and other voices from Pakistan to promote a one-sided narrative about Kashmir, which has whitewashed the Kashmiri Pandit plight and chokes their stories.”

In a recent and related development in India too, Vivek in his defense stated, “It’s absurd that the political parties in Kashmir are blaming my film for the death of Rahul Bhat.” Agnihotri wants to continue his mission of uncovering the truth around the tragic fate of Kashmiri Hindus on international forums.

Khul Ke, a social media platform, had also hosted a Round Table, “Kashmir Konversations” with the director and eminent journalist Manoj Raghuvanshi, who was the first journalist in the world to do a lead story in July 1989 that terrorism will erupt in Kashmir. Manoj is also known for his interview with Bitta Karrate, the notorious militant who was charged for killing Kashmiri Pandits.

Vivek declared, “It’s absurd that Mehbooba Mufti and the other political parties in Kashmir are blaming my film for the recent deaths in the valley. My film is based on facts and, yes, unlike the previous films made, I have neither glorified nor romanticized terrorism. It’s really surprising as these people pointing fingers at my film are all well-learned and read individuals.”

He added, “Arvind Kejriwal, who did not even watch the film, said the movie is a lie. Most of the political parties have shown a negative approach towards the film yet many have appreciated it as well. The destruction of Kashmir can be attributed to the political families of Kashmir, whether it be Mufti or Abdullah. I have traveled a lot to Kashmir, and whoever I have interacted with, from the waiter serving me, to the local taxi guy, everybody unanimously has blamed the people living on Kashmir’s Gupkar road for the valley’s downfall and destruction.”

In his conversation he also blames certain section of media for not uncovering the truth and pushing their own agenda in their reportage. Vivek told the platform, “Certain journalists rose to fame and were almost worshipped by the people in the post-Doordarshan (state-owned television) era, during the advent of new cable news channels. Whatever they reported and showed on television was considered absolute truth and nobody even doubted their reporting. When I once went to The Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) to teach, the journalism students gushed about these reporters, without even an iota of doubt about them. Even I have seen the news bulletins and reporting by Barkha Dutt, and even an aware person like me believed it to be the only truth. However, it is only recently that people have realized that these are all narrative builders and their narration only pushed their latent agenda.”

Tzachi Halevy, an Israeli film and television actor and singer had recently pointed out at the similarities between The Kashmir Files and his widely-acclaimed Israeli espionage thriller, Fauda. He was extremely moved by the film and praised the performances. In November 2019, content studio Applause Entertainment (promoted by Aditya Birla Group) announced that there will be an Indian remake of Fauda that will highlight the complicated relationship between India and Pakistan. Vivek mentioned that not just Israeli audiences but also the Israeli intelligence has highly appreciated his film.

After the massive reception and popularity of The Kashmir Files, audiences are now eagerly waiting for Vivek’s next venture. On his upcoming projects, Vivek mentioned. “I am working on two films, of which one is The Delhi Files—again an expose. The second is an extraordinary story that will fill the hearts of Indians with pride for their country.”





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