Director Ashvin Kumar won the National award yesterday for his film "Inshallah Football". Inshallah, football presents the human face of the Kashmir conflict,
"This award is dedicated to the people of Kashmir whose voices have been stifled in mainstream discourse in our country. We must acknowledge dreams and desires of our fellow citizens in Kashmir, if we are to have reconciliation. It is a coming-of-age for our democracy that a temporary ban imposed on this film last year is reviewed and revised by the nation's top honour for cinema. Inshallah I would request the Indian Censors now to review its 'A' certificate so that the nation is not denied the opportunity to understand who are fellow citizens in Kashmir are and why they are discontented with our presence there", says Ashvin
It is tragic and ironic that the coach Juan Marco Troia who is the star of this film, is presently enduring a most unjust ban by the football association of J&K, he and his family of three daughters is under unbearable coercion to leave the valley. His coaching school and club has given a dream and direction to over 5000 youth footballers in Kashmir who will be rendered hopeless and directionless should he depart. Ironic that someone whose contribution is so immense to Kashmiri football should himself fighting for survival rather than celebrated.
"I extend a plea to the authorities in Srinagar to come to his aid and rescue his training and club programmes from the petty vested interests who are causing this distress", adds Ashvin Kumar on the occassion of receiving this National Award.