Mumbai — Even as the feature film, No Fire Zone — The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka, is all set to be screened to the press in Delhi and Mumbai on Thursday and Friday, the film’s director, British journalist Callum Macrae, has yet to get his visa from the Indian government.
“Macrae had applied for his visa eight months ago and till now he has not got it,” said Satya Sivaraman, a human-rights activist and organiser of the film show. “This is not normal. The Indian government has not officially denied him a visa but is just sitting on it.
“It seems the Indian government is more embarrassed to give him a visa than the Sri Lankan government which is likely to grant him a visa to cover the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, CHOGM, to be held in Colombo from November 15-17,” he said.
Organisers are hopeful that Macrae gets his visa to visit India, a country, according to the director, that has a huge responsibility to get to the truth of what happened at the end of the war.
And if Macrae fails to get his visa, “we are thinking of holding a video conference from London with members of the press here,” said Sivaraman.
The film documents the last days of the 26-year-old civil war in Sri Lanka and raises serious allegations of war crimes against the government and its conduct in the war against the LTTE.
The story is told by the people who lived through the war and through some of the most dramatic and disturbing video evidence ever seen.
The film represents the culmination of three years of investigation by the Nobel Prize nominated team behind the two Channel 4 TV documentaries credited with bringing these crimes to the attention of the world.
Macrae made news again recently when UK’s Channel 4 telecast a video footage from his documentary of Isaipriya, a Tamil Tiger television presenter suggesting she was captured alive and killed during the last phase of the Sri Lankan war. Isaipriya was found dead on May 18, 2009 with torture marks. The video was telecast worldwide and cast a shadow on the forthcoming Commonwealth meet.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is under pressure from several human rights and Tamil groups in the country who have asked him not to attend the CHOGM meeting.