By Faridullah Farid
The BJP’s supported Bollywood’s recently released propaganda film ‘The Kashmir Files’ on migration of Kashmiri Pandits from IIOJK in 1990 has not only been declared tax-free in several states but also uploaded on youtube for widespread projection but the efforts has not yielded fruitful results as it bagged huge criticism not only from Kashmiri leadership but from Indian opposition and native wise voices as well.
The plot of the film, which is full of exaggeration and entirely based on fabrication and construction, revolves around two main themes: the “genocide” of Kashmiri Pandits and their exodus from the Kashmir Valley in 1990, and that there is Pak-sponsored terrorism in the Kashmiri people’s struggle for self-determination. Rahter than taking a balance approach, it has amplified the vilification of Kashmiri Muslims. The Nazi-inspired BJP appears to have used the same nefarious tactics against Kashmiri Muslims that which was used by Nazis against Jews during WW-II by instilling anti-Semitism in Germans through their cinema. According to history, Nazis developed propaganda films against the Jewish minority, and they were successful in exterminating the Jews. A similar tendency can be seen in India. The India government is constantly producing films in which the Muslim minority is shown as terrible. The film ‘Kashmir Files’ was used to promote an aggressive Hindutva narrative against Kashmiri Muslims that in 1989 Hindu Pandits were suffered at the hands of Muslims.
The contentious film has drawn widespread condemnation, not just from Kashmiri officials, but also from Indians as well labeling it a half-truth that presents a politically slanted picture in favour of the ruling BJP. Mehbooba Mufti, the former Chief Minister of IIOJK, denounced the BJP’s promotion of the film, claiming that “the issue was not about a specific community, since many Muslims had also been slaughtered in J&K.” Farooq Abdullah, the former Chief Minister of IIOJK, condemned the film, saying that “by making ‘The Kashmir Files’ tax-free, the BJP-led administration aimed to instill animosity in people’s hearts.” On the other hand BJP insists that every police officer and military, as well as everyone else, should watch this film in order to develop a deep hatred for us, as Hitler and Goebles did in Germany. Six million Jews were forced to pay the price at the time. I am not sure how many people in India will have to pay the price. We deplore the assassinations of Kashmiri Pandits. However, didn’t Kashmiri Muslims and Sikhs perish?” Omar Abdullah, the former chief minister of Kashmir also condemned the storyline of the movie and termed it a movie based on lies. Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut accused the BJP and Modi of pushing the film “The Kashmir Files” with an eye on the upcoming Assembly elections in Gujarat and Rajasthan and also said that the film attempted to bury some “hard realities.
Indian Congress party while condemned the film and labeled it as ‘misleading’. Congressman Shashi Tharoor emphasized that “Kashmiri Pandits suffered horribly, but condemning Kashmiri Muslims does not help the Pandits either. Hatred is a poison that separates and kills. Kashmiris are in desperate need of justice. Everyone deserves to be heard, assisted, and healed.” Similarly, CPI (M) leader M Y Tarigami remarked that “The departure of Kashmiri Pandits is a painful chapter of Kashmir’s history but highlighting carnage for political advantage is harmful for the country and the people. Objectively projecting the traumas faced by the people of Kashmir is necessary.”
The widespread criticism of leaders and people from all walks of society is a reflection of the fact that the murderous situation in Kashmir is mostly affecting Kashmiri Muslims. According to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other human rights organisations nearly 100,000 Kashmiri Muslims have been martyred by Indian security forces. The presence of nearly 800,000 Indian security troops as well as regulations such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Public Safety Act and Disturbed Areas Act has given Indian security forces unrestricted powers to martyr Kashmiri Muslims. The propaganda film ‘The Kashmir Files’ is part of the RSS’s Akhand Bharat agenda, which mean India is only for Hindus. But it is a reality that less BJP and its first-tier leadership, the bulk of Indian populace did not believe the movie’s portrayal of Kashmiri pandits facing genocide in the valley. An interesting dialogue “Peddling a lie is a sin, but hiding the truth is a larger sin,” says by a character in the film and I think the same dialogue is actually exposing the nefarious aim of sponsors and filmmakers who have done both ‘peddled lies and hidden the entire truth’.
Facts and figures about the atrocities being committed by Indian security forces against innocent Kashmiris in IIOJK show that from Jan 1989 till 30 Apr 2022, total 96,022 Kashmiris were martyred including 7,233 custodial killings, 164,735 civilian were arrested, 110,475 structures torched/ Destroyed, Women Widowed 22,944, Children Orphaned 107,860 and around 11,255 Women were gang-raped / molested. India may produce more movies like ‘The Kashmir Files’ but it is a fact that the film is a box of lies and it will not be able to deceive the world community and human rights organizations that Kashmiri Muslims are terrible and they ousted Kashmiri Pandits from IIOJK.