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HomeDiplomacyRussia 'state agency' film equates Kashmir with Palestine, Moscow goes into damage-control

Russia ‘state agency’ film equates Kashmir with Palestine, Moscow goes into damage-control

News agency Redfish Media released trailer of ‘Kashmir: Palestine in Making’ on Twitter last week. Twitter has labelled it 'Russia state-affiliated media'. 

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New Delhi: The Russian government has distanced itself from a documentary by Redfish Media, a digital news agency, that likens the security situation in Kashmir to that in Palestine.

Twitter and Facebook have labelled Berlin-based Redfish Media as “Russia state-affiliated media” and “Russia state-controlled media”, respectively. Redfish is affiliated to the Russian media company RT, which describes itself as “an autonomous, non-profit organisation that is publicly financed from the budget of the Russian Federation”.

In a statement weighing in on the documentary, the Russian embassy in India denied that the news outlet has any “state support” and called the claim “misleading”. It also reaffirmed its traditional policy of “non-interference” on the Kashmir issue.

“The misleading label of this channel in Twitter as ‘Russia state-affiliated media’ does not make it automatically related to any state support. The channel functions independently with regard to its editorial policy,” the embassy said in a statement released Sunday.

The embassy also said, “However, it is hoped that the complexity and historical background of this and other regional issues will be given due understanding and balanced approach, which is expected from any professional media.”

It also said that Russia’s traditional position on the Kashmir dispute has been that of “non-interference” as Moscow continues to see this issue as a bilateral matter.

“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,” it said.

Redfish released a trailer for the documentary, ‘Kashmir: Palestine in Making’, on Twitter on 4 February, drawing the ire of many social media users who posted scathing comments in replies to the post. The documentary is scheduled for release on 11 February.

In the tweet releasing the trailer, Redfish Media said, “Indian Kashmir is fast becoming a settler-colonial state.”  

In another tweet addressing the controversy surrounding the release of the documentary, the news outlet said the content “is balanced and includes the perspectives of all stakeholders, including the BJP in Jammu Kashmir and Kashmiri activists”.

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India’s neutral position on Ukraine crisis

The controversy comes at a time when India has taken a neutral position on the emerging crisis between Moscow and Kiev.

India has called for a “peaceful resolution” on the crisis triggered by Russian military build-up on Ukraine’s borders, which has stoked fears of an invasion. 

Last week, at a meeting of the UN Security Council (UNSC), New Delhi had said, “India’s interest is in finding a solution that can provide for immediate de-escalation of tensions, taking into account the legitimate security interests of all countries and aimed towards securing long-term peace and stability in the region and beyond. We have also been in touch with all concerned parties.”

Just days ago, the Russian embassy had lashed out at The Hindu for referring to the 2014 annexation of Crimea in a quiz. The daily later deleted the tweet.

(Edited by Saikat Niyogi) 

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