India to wage documentary war countering West’s exposure of Sri Lanka crimes

The Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi has embarked on deploying India’s expertise in cinematography to campaign against recent exposures of Sri Lanka’s war crimes by Western documentaries and to defend the partnership efforts of the two Establishments in the island. Leading film makers in India have been hired by the ministry to produce a documentary that will be showing an interview with Rajapaksa, de-mining work by Indian teams and footages of Tamils ‘praising’ India, news sources in Colombo told TamilNet on Tuesday. Meanwhile, India’s Bollywood is set to produce a ‘politically charged’ commercial film, “Jaffna,” directed by Shoojit Sircar carrying the theme of ‘extremism’ to another level compared to his earlier film on Kashmir, and the actor John Abraham is going to visit the island often to get a hang of the milieu, IANS reported early this month.

Indian Public Diplomacy, a wing of India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is engaged in producing the documentary.

The decision was taken a year ago. The Indian High Commission in Colombo has provided the funds and logistical support to the team from the production house.

The team visited Jaffna, Ki’linochchi, Vavuniyaa and Trincomalee among other places in the Tamil homeland of the North and East.

The team was instructed to avoid asking anything about the war.

They were to record interviews with ‘Tamil beneficiaries of Indian help’ and to cover only post-war ‘rehabilitation’.

The brief for the team was to film homes, infrastructure projects made through Indian assistance, the work done by Indian de-mining and medical teams and show how these were helping the Tamil population. They also shot extensively with people who were using the Indian designed and manufactured prosthetic devices called the "Jaipur foot".

Not many people were willing to speak with the team. The team has however managed to get the kind of sound bites it was looking for, informed sources said.

The team has since gone to Delhi and has started post-production.

The Rajapaksa interview part planned for the documentary is yet to be accomplished.

The MEA plans to show the documentary initially to ‘educate’ the Indian parliamentarians and diplomats.

The picture they want to paint through this short film is that of a Tamil population that is ‘happy with the assistance offered by the Indian government’ and ‘focused on rebuilding their life’.

Debates and deliberation in the Indian Parliament on the situation of Eezham Tamils lately have seen calls for international investigations into war crimes in Sri Lanka and criticism of the continued denial of political and fundamental rights as well as basic freedom to them.

The short film is an attempt at countering some of the criticism.

New Delhi needs ‘damage control’ after the Geneva vote and Channel 4 documentary, the informed sources in Colombo further said.

Contrary to ‘praises’ by a section of Eezham Tamil activists lured by the agendas set by competing USA and India, both were not genuine at Geneva, political observers opined.

While the US-resolution confined solutions to Sri Lanka’s LLRC recommendations, bailing out the Rajapaksa regime from international investigations and the Sri Lankan state from any constitutional obligations, the Indian ‘amendment’ has not only freed the genocidal state from UN interventions but has even paved way for possible stalemate in acting on the resolution.

The Indo-US competition always proves a bane to Eezham Tamils and a boon to the genocidal state in Colombo, Tamil political circles in the island commented.

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