Hate Buster: Kashmiri Pandits denounce communal propaganda in The Kashmir Files Real survivors point out holes in the half-truth-ridden movie
21, Mar 2022 | CJP Team
Over the week, right-wing media enthusiastically applauded The Kashmir Files for voicing the grievances of the Kashmiri Hindus or Kashmiri Pandits (KPs) who also were forced to flee their homes during the Kashmir insurgency in the late 80s and early 90s. At the same time, the very community in question expressed fear many times in the last seven days about the possible repercussions of the movie.
The Kashmir Files narrated an evocative story about the plight of KPs around 1989. However, as balanced reviews came in, it appeared that the movie had glossed over many facts and nuances to only focus on the state of Hindus in the region, ignoring the Sikh and Muslim community that also suffered greatly at the time. What’s worse, though the insurgency was sponsored by Pakistan, the movie squarely blames Indian Muslims for it!
CJP is dedicated to finding and bringing to light instances of Hate Speech, so that the bigots propagating these venomous ideas can be unmasked and brought to justice. To learn more about our campaign against hate speech, please become a member. To support our initiatives, please donate now!
Most recently, Director Vivek Agnihotri claimed 4,000 KPs were killed during the exodus without offering any means to verify this number. Over time, official government data, RTI enquiries, unofficial data by extremist and genuinely-invested groups such as the Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS) have brought to light how the deaths range from 219 (official data) to as many as 650 deaths (unofficial data by KPSS). However, no source has ever cited deaths in the thousands.
This fact was even called out by ‘Kashmirnama’ author Ashok Kumar Pandey who posted a half an hour video on YouTube criticising the portrayal of history in the movie.
दो-चार साल रुकिए। संख्या कोई चार लाख पहुँचा देंगे। pic.twitter.com/XtoXSPK5vE
— Ashok Kumar Pandey अशोक اشوک (@Ashok_Kashmir) March 19, 2022
कश्मीर की वास्तविकता को अवश्य जानें।#KashmiriPandits के पलायन में क्या थी #Jagmohan की भूमिका? Ashok Kumar P… https://t.co/cFxwYpnJtN via @YouTube
— digvijaya singh (@digvijaya_28) March 19, 2022
Pandey also talked about how the ‘Al Safa’ newspaper was described as a supporter of terrorism in The Kashmir Files when in reality Editor Shaban Vakil was murdered by terrorists on March 23, 1991. Earlier, on September 22, 1990 – a year after the exodus – 23 KPs jointly wrote a letter to the Vakil. In it, the writers alleged that the exodus was a planned conspiracy. They accused Governor Jagmohan of making the community a scapegoat for the benefit of “Hindu communal organisations like the BJP, RSS and the Shiv Sena in connivance with the state administration.” Writers said that the Muslim and Hindu communities were living amicably and happily as neighbours until some self-styled leaders of the KP community created trouble. The entire letter may be read below:
Considering that this letter was written by the very community that the movie is based on, it was not surprising that the organisation invested in the benefit of KPs said the movie made residing Kashmiri Hindus feel unsafe.
Kashmir files makes resident kashmiri pandits unsafe
— KPSS (@KPSSamiti) March 16, 2022
During an interview, KPSS President and Human Rights Defender Sanjay Tickoo blamed the government for the hate-spreading, generated only by the non-Kashmiri Pandits who, he says “do not have a stake in Kashmir”. Among the many criticisms, he pointed out how the movie connected the attacks to the abrogation of Article 370 and portrayed Muslims as jihadi. Tickoo also revealed a great irony that the movie touted as representing Kashmiri Hindus is still not shown in the Valley.
Further, a BBC report that included interviews of various Kashmiri Pandits showed that the community was in fact unimpressed by the movie. Many people called it out for mixing or skipping facts, while others asked why the movie completely side-lined Muslim and Sikh communities’ tortures.
1990 के दशक में कई कश्मीरी पंडितों को अपनी ज़मीन को छोड़कर जाना पड़ा. वहीं, कई कश्मीरी पंडित घाटी छोड़कर नहीं गए. आख़िर सरकार से कश्मीरी पंडित क्या चाहते हैं और अलग-अलग सरकारों ने इनके लिए क्या किया?
रिपोर्टः अभय कुमार सिंह
आवाज़ः नवीन नेगी
वीडियो एडिटः मनीष जालुई pic.twitter.com/XdHXuwafiB
— BBC News Hindi (@BBCHindi) March 17, 2022
‘ये फ़िल्म 2024 चुनाव के लिए स्टंट है’
‘इस तरह के फ़िल्में दूरियां पैदा करेगी’
‘द कश्मीर फ़ाइल्स’ फ़िल्म पर जम्मू में रहने वाले कश्मीरी पंडित क्या कह रहे हैं?
वीडियोः मोहित कंधारी, बीबीसी के लिए
एडिटः देबलिन रॉय pic.twitter.com/4DhXOpBuMc
— BBC News Hindi (@BBCHindi) March 16, 2022
Civilians accused politicians of hailing the movie only to use it as a “stunt” for the 2024 elections. Some people even asked other directors to create a more nuanced movie depicting the real horror of the exodus and insurgency. Many of them were actual survivors, who witnessed the attacks.
Despite multiple cinema reviews decrying the movie for its communal sentiments, The Kashmir Files has been endorsed by Union and State Ministers alike including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Left with no other choice, the KP community has taken it upon themselves to maintain the communal harmony among the two communities in question and discourage the hate created by the film. Some videos show KP community members vocally decrying the movie in theatre halls for its damaging impact.
Every kashmiri Muslim is not terrorist every Kashmiri pandit is not communal we both respect, love and share our pain which every kashmiri has gone through last 32 years
— KPSS (@KPSSamiti) March 16, 2022
The pain & suffering of 1990 & after can not be undone. The way Kashmiri Pandits had their sense of security snatched from them & had to leave the valley is a stain on our culture of Kashmiriyat. We have to find ways to heal divides & not add to them. https://t.co/D5vzZ994Z8
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) March 18, 2022
Dear Leader has been India’s PM for 8 yrs;
Kashmir is under Central Rule for 3yrs;
Kashmir’s Art370 has been revoked for 2+yrs;
Kashmir is guarded by 600,000 security forces;
But, Kashmiri Pandits are still living outside Kashmir;
What they have got is a hate film #KashmirFiles!
— Ashok Swain (@ashoswai) March 14, 2022
In this video even Kashmiri Pandits opposes the movie kashmir files.
Search a new way to spread hate and defame the paradise of kashmir pic.twitter.com/K0WTgKEUVR
— ASIF OFFICIAL | آصف آفیشل (@im_asifofficial) March 17, 2022
Image Courtesy: Representational Image of KPSS holding hunger strike to demand jobs for non-migrant Kashmiri Hindus who are still living in the Valley.
Govt to Blame, Where is Security for KP Families in Valley, Asks Sanjay Tickoo, KPSS
Has terror returned to haunt Kashmir?
Unemployed Kashmiri Pandit youth granted relief
Non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits facing political and administrative isolation: KPSS