'The Kashmir Files': Delhi Police to step up security at mixed population areas amid political slugfest over Vivek Agnihotri film


NEW DELHI: The Delhi Police has asked the DCPs of all districts to make adequate security arrangements in mixed population areas of the city in view of the newly-released Bollywood film "The Kashmir Files" to prevent any law and order situation.

The film based on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley in the 1990s is helmed by Vivek Agnihotri and was released on March 11.

The letter issued by the Special Branch of Delhi Police on March 14 cited apprehensions of possible communal violence and tension due to the sensitive nature of the film.

"Keeping in view the sensitivity of the matter, adequate precautionary measures may be taken to maintain law and order situation under control. Adequate police arrangements by local police (including sufficient women police), PCR and traffic are suggested especially in mixed population areas to handle the situation tactfully to avoid any untoward incident," it stated.

The letter was sent to DCPs of all districts, PCR and traffic units.

"In Karnataka's Bhatkal, people have started protesting with a demand to screen the film in movie theatres against the limited screening of The Kashmir Files in the local cinemas.

In some movie theatres, the audience was heard chanting slogans against the terrorists and enemies of India.

"The communal situation in Delhi is still fragile since the 2020 northeast Delhi riots. Recently the Hijab/Burqa controversy and Haridwar Dharam Sansad's hate speech against the Muslim community, it cannot be ruled out that even a minor incident may create communal tension between both the communities and affect the law and order situation," the letter added.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Wednesday claimed that the aggressiveness of Hindutva forces has sharpened after the BJP's victory in assembly elections in four states.

He claimed that the objective of the RSS is to rewrite the history of India and deepen communal polarisation.

"Post the assembly polls, the aggressiveness of Hindutva forces has sharpened," Yechury said at a press conference at the CPI(M) state headquarters here.

Claiming that the RSS is making very aggressive posturing to generate a grand narrative of Indian history, he alleged that the saffron brigade's objective is to reduce the study of Indian history to that of Hindu mythology only.

Yechury pointed to the recently-released film 'The Kashmir Files' stating that many BJP-ruled states were making the movie tax-free.

The film is based on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley in 1990.

Condemning the terrorist attacks in Kashmir over the years and the migration of Pandits from the Valley, he said that the CPI(M) was among the foremost to have worked for their rehabilitation.

"The Jammu and Kashmir government has now put out that during these terrorist attacks, the number of Kashmiri Pandits killed was 89, while that of other faiths were 1,635," he said.

The CPI(M) general secretary alleged that religious divides were being highlighted by the BJP and RSS to keep the attention of the people away from pressing issues of price rise of essentials and joblessness.

Noting that the repeal of the three controversial farm laws, which saw nearly a year-long protests by farmers, was only an electoral gimmick to help BJP win the assembly polls, he claimed that they are being "brought in again in a different form."

Yechury claimed that the hijab controversy has been unnecessarily created only to create a divide between the people of India.

"Wearing headgear is a centuries-old custom not only due to religious reasons but owing to regional issues, due to identity reasons," he said.

Taking on the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress, he alleged that it is adopting the policies of the BJP and functioning in a manner that amounts to the complete murder of democracy.

"They have gone to the extent of murdering their own in order to control the local body," he said.

He claimed that the TMC is functioning in a manner similar to that in BJP-ruled Tripura, where he alleged that the CPI(M) cadres and party offices were being attacked.

"Not allowing opposition candidates to contest or file nominations and intimidation have become the standard techniques of murder of democracy in West Bengal," he said.

He said that this is a big challenge for the CPI(M) in West Bengal and the party can rise to it and defeat "this politics of terror and violence" being practised by the TMC in West Bengal and BJP in Tripura.

Yechury, who is attending the three-day 26th state conference of CPI(M) here that began on Tuesday, said that there will be lots of new faces in the new committee to be announced on Thursday.

Speaking in the Gujarat Legislative Assembly, BJP MLAs Hitu Kanodia and Suresh Patel on Wednesday urged people to watch the Bollywood film "The Kashmir Files", and accused Congress leaders of "shaking hands" with those who targeted the Hindus in Kashmir.

The BJP government in Gujarat has given the film, which revolves around the forced migration of Kashmiri Pandits from the Kashmir Valley in the 1990s, a tax-free status.

Speaking during a discussion on Budgetary allocations for the Information and Broadcasting Department, Kanodia said the film has "unearthed reality" and presented it before the country's people.

"It is unfortunate that Congress leaders used to shake hands with those who had tortured Kashmiri Pandits. This should not have happened. Every citizen should watch it to understand the pain of Kashmiri Pandits. We also need to understand the conspiracy of those who want to divide our country," he added.

Countering him, senior Congress legislator Punja Vansh asked Kanodia to also state which party was in power at the Centre when the migration took place, apparently referring to the fact that a non-Congress government was in power at the time.

Suresh Patel, another BJP MLA, thanked Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel for giving the film tax exemption.

"We must not forget the atrocities committed in Kashmir. We should also understand how demography has changed," he said.

Rajasthan Food and Civil Supplies Minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas on Wednesday alleged that the BJP is diverting people's attention from issues like inflation and unemployment by using the movie, "The Kashmir Files".

"BJP workers enter film halls and shout slogans about The Kashmir Files. Where have the slogans which they gave in 2014 have gone now," he asked interacting with reporters here.

The BJP had then raised the slogan "bahut hui mehngai ki maar, ab ki baar Modi sarkar", the minister said.

"Now, inflation is at its peak but they are not raising this slogan, rather diverting public attention from inflation by this movie," Khachariyawas told reporters.

He also blamed the BJP for the exodus of Kashmiri pandits, saying it was their government at the Centre when it took place.

"The Congress has fought against terrorism and always opposed it," he said.

Khachariyawas said the BJP should give reply on issues of inflation and unemployment in the country, instead of dividing people in the name of religion.

Amid the opposition BJP's demand for a tax break to 'The Kashmir Files' in Chhattisgarh, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Wednesday said the BJP-led Union government should waive the GST on the movie so that it will become tax-free in the country.

The CM invited all the MLAs to watch the film at a mall here.

"BJP MLAs have demanded to exempt 'The Kashmir Files' movie from (entertainment) tax in the state. I request the Hon'ble Prime Minister to announce to waive off central GST on this film. (Then) the movie will be tax-free across the country," Baghel said in a tweet in Hindi.

Earlier in the day, while responding to BJP legislators in the state Legislative Assembly, Baghel said the BJP-led Centre should make the film tax-free in the entire country.

Speaking after Question Hour, Leader of Opposition Dharamlal Kaushik of BJP said, 'The Kashmir Files' should be exempted from tax in Chhattisgarh".

Replying to Kaushik, the chief minister said, Let's go to watch this film.

The Government of India also gets a share in the tax, therefore, the Centre should exempt the movie from the tax in the entire country".

"After the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST), half of its share goes to the Centre. The Centre should declare the film tax-free in the country," the CM said, adding that all legislators would watch the film after adjournment of the House on Wednesday.

Later, in a statement, the state public relations department said that the CM has invited all the MLAs and other dignitaries to watch 'The Kashmir Files'.

All tickets for the 8 PM show of the movie have been booked, the release said.

On Monday, senior BJP MLA Brijmohan Agrawal had alleged that the Congress government didn't want people to watch 'The Kashmir Files' in large numbers and pressuring cinema halls to not sell all tickets to restrict footfalls, a charge refuted by the ruling party as baseless.

The strength of the Chhattisgarh Assembly is 90.

One seat is lying vacant at present.

Written and directed by Vivek Agnihotri and produced by Zee Studios, the film depicts the exodus of Kashmiri Hindus from Kashmir following systematic killings of people from the community by Pakistan-backed terrorists.

It stars Anupam Kher, Darshan Kumar, Mithun Chakraborty and Pallavi Joshi among others.

Some states, including Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, have exempted the film from entertainment tax.

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