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Gujarat riot video in China 'embarrasses' govt

Gujarat riot video in China embarrasses govt
The Indian commission in China is in the midst of a controversy it would have done well to avoid. About 29 Indian artists were commissioned by the Serpentine Gallery, London, and the Astrup Feamley Museum of Modern Art, Norway, for an exhibition of short films. The trouble started when the exhibition reached Beijing after touring the world. The point of contention is a short film on the Gujarat riots.

The exhibition was inaugurated by the Indian ambassador to China S Jaishankar last month. It was currently underway till the Indian government prodded the authorities. The short film rattled the external affairs ministry. 'There was a video exhibit that was about four-odd minutes long ... It had some politically controversial overtones. Our mission had taken it up with the organisers and since then the organisers have removed that exhibit,' the external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told reporters here.

He said that the exhibit was part of the Indian Highway Art exhibition organised by the London and Norway art bodies.

Sources said that the short film carried interviews with people about the post-Godhra riots in Gujarat in 2002. Twenty nine Indian artists and more than 60 works are featured in the exhibition. Before Beijing, the exhibition was mounted in London, Oslo, Herning, Lyon, New Delhi and Rome.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) termed the exhibit 'objectionable' and asked the government to seek an explanation from the ambassador for inaugurating the event which 'showed India in poor light'. 'The short film on Indian democracy shows India in poor light, higlighting the Godhra-related incidents alone and showing that Indian democracy has failed. This is completely objectionable,' the BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said. 'The ministry should call the Indian Ambassador and seek an explanation from him,' she said.
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