Bollywood film-maker Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri shared photograph of a certificate issued by the American state of Rhode Island and claimed that the state had "recognised Kashmir Genocide" because of his movie, 'The Kashmir Files.'
The claim comes in the backdrop of the recently released movie which talks about the ordeals faced by the Kashmiri Pandits. The movie has been promoted by several prominent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders with some states making the movie tax-free.
However, we found that the claim was false and misleading. The image Agnihotri shared showed a citation to recognise the premiere of the movie in Rhode Island.
While sharing the image, Agnihotri wrote:
"HISTORIC: First time in 32 years, any state in the world, the democratic & liberal state of USA -Rhode Island, has officially recognised Kashmir Genocide due to a very small film. Pl read this and decide who is the persecutor and who should get the punishment. This is #NewIndia"
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
After looking at the image Agnihotri shared, we noticed that it said that the citation was "in recognition of the premiere of The Kashmir Files, detailing terrorism and extremism by memorilizing the events of 1990 in which 500,000 Kashmiri Hindus were ethnically cleansed in the Kashmir Valley by Islamic Gangs and forced to live as refugees."
The citation was issued on 9 December 2021. It, however, didn't say that the state of Rhode Island had recognised the "Kashmir Genocide" as claimed by Agnihotri.
We then came across a tweet by Independent journalist Raqib Hameed Naik who called out Agnihotri's claims.
Naik said that he reached out to the Representative Brian Kennedy, who proposed the citation, and he told Naik that the citation was simply to recognise the premiere of the movie at Rhode Island College and not to recognise a "Hindu genocide in Kashmir."
We reached out to Naik and he shared the response provided by Representative Kennedy. We checked the email trail and verified that the mails were sent by Rep. Kennedy's official email address. The Quint then reached out to Rep. Kennedy and we got the same response from him.
"I was contacted in December 2021 by an Indian-American from East Greenwich who is involved with the Federated Indian Organizations of New England regarding securing a citation for Vivek Ranjan Agnihotr for the premiere of his film "The Kashmir Files" that was being presented at Rhode Island College on Dec. 9, 2021 (sic)," Rep. Kennedy said in a statement to The Quint.
"The citation from the State was to simply recognize the premiere of this movie. I have not met the director nor was I present to view the movie, although I have seen scenes of the movie that were provided to me in advance of the showing," the statement added.
The statement from Rep. Kennedy further clarified, "A citation is simply the acknowledgement of a special event. It does NOT hold the weight of a Resolution approved by the members of the House. This citation was strictly given to the movie director for the premiere of his movie. It is nothing more and it is NOT an endorsement of the State of Rhode Island and the House of Representatives."
In his subsequent tweet, Naik also said that he got in touch with a staffer of the Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives, K Joseph Shekarchi, who said that the speaker was unaware of the citation.
The Quint's WebQoof team has also reached out K Joseph Shekarchi and this copy will be updated once we get a response.
(Note: The copy has been updated to include Rep. Kennedy's response to The Quint.)
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