New Delhi: A letter has been dashed off to the external affairs minister, S Jaishankar, seeking action into the matter of the US consulates organising film festivals in collaboration with a group known as Video Volunteers.

The Legal Rights Protection Forum in a tweet asked, “Why do US consulate offices in India back anti-India groups which are interfering in internal matters. Wrote to external affairs minister and union home ministry seeking action into the matter of US consulates organising film festivals in collaboration with Video Volunteers.”

Further, the tweet also said that the home ministry has been requested to probe into the activities of Jessica Mayberry, the founding director of Video Volunteers.

The issue came up following an advertisement put up by the US consulate in Mumbai. It read that anyone can be a documentary film maker. Join our film screenings promoting social activism and a panel discussion on documentary films as a tool for social change. The event is being held at the US Consulate in Mumbai by Video Volunteers on February 14 between 10.30 am and 2 pm.

Over the past couple of months, Video Volunteers has put up several videos relating to Kashmir. Videos such as Ground reports on Kashmir’s lockdown, Eight Weeks after Article 370 was scrapped, Article 370 Clampdown have been posted on the website of Video Volunteers. These videos try to give a picture that everything is wrong in Kashmir post the abrogation of Article 370.

Video Volunteers, on its website, says that it enables the marginalised citizens to hold the government accountable, by telling their stories to the world and launching impact campaigns. 
In one section of the website, called India Unheard, there is a mention about the number of correspondents. It says that India Unheard is a video news agency formed entirely of community based correspondents whose stories capture the unique perspective of India’s most marginalised communities. The network is adivasi, Dalit, religious minority and women.

Several NGOs have been accused by the government of putting out a one-sided narrative, while others have been accused of deliberately stalling development and painting India in very bad light. There are others who have been accused of conversions as well. It may be recalled that in 2014, the government had tightened the screws on several NGOs that were not following the norms while receiving foreign funding.