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UP joins league of BJP states to make 'The Kashmir Files' tax-free as political slugfest starts over Vivek Agnihotri film

Written and directed by Vivek Agnihotri and produced by Zee Studios, the film depicts the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the valley in the 1990s.

Published: 15th March 2022 01:14 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th March 2022 08:23 PM   |  A+A-

The Kashmir Files. ( File Photo)

The Kashmir Files. ( File Photo)

By PTI

LUCKNOW: The Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday made 'The Kashmir Files' movie tax-free in the state.

"#TheKashmirFiles film has been made tax-free in Uttar Pradesh," Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said in a tweet in Hindi.

Written and directed by Vivek Agnihotri and produced by Zee Studios, the film depicts the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the valley in the 1990s.

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

Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, who watched the film in Lucknow, in a tweet in Hindi said, "The film #The KashmirFiles is based on the pain and injury of Kashmiri Hindus. It is a film based on true incidents. After seeing the movie yesterday (Monday), I can say that this film needs to be seen by more and more people."

In another tweet, Maurya hailed the decision of the state government to make the film tax-free.

More BJP-ruled states on Monday made 'The Kashmir Files' movie tax-free, even as a war of words broke out between the saffron party and its rivals on the issue of exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley.

While Karnataka, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh have already made the movie free of entertainment tax, Tripura and Goa on Monday announced to follow suit, as demands grew to make it free of the levy all over the country.

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The film is exposing a bitter truth and hence, it should be exempted from the tax, Ladakh BJP MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal demanded in Lok Sabha.

Janata Dal (United) member Sunil Kumar Pintu too demanded that the movie be made tax-free, saying it reveals the plight of Kashmiri Pandits.

However, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) member Danish Ali said that whether it is "Kashmir Files or Gujarat Files", films which create feelings of hatred should be banned.

Over a series of tweets by the Congress' Kerala unit on the exodus issue and the movie, BJP leaders said the opposition party lacks sensitivity and for minority appeasement it sympathises with only one community.

The unit in its tweets blamed the BJP-supported V P Singh government in the 1990s and also then governor Jagmohan for the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley.

Hitting out at the Congress and its leadership, Union Minister Giriraj Singh said, "It is in the DNA of the Congress that the party and its leaders understand the pain of only one community for the sake of their agenda of minority appeasement."

"Sonia Gandhi can weep for the encounter in Batla House but doesn't shed a single tear for our Kashmiri Pandits," he said.

Underlining that the Congress "distorts history for its own convenience", BJP MP KJ Alphons said, "It was under the watch of Congress dispensations that over a lakh Kashmiri Pandits left the Valley. They were driven out of their homes on communal grounds."

BJP leader and former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje has urged the Congress government in Rajasthan to make the film tax-free, with a similar demand being made by Bhanwar Lal Sharma, an MLA of the ruling party in the state.

Bihar BJP MLA Sanjay Saraogi also urged that the movie be made tax-free in his state.

The film's maker Agnihotri has described his latest release "The Kashmir Files", based on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley in 1990, as a film with universal appeal.

On Tuesday evening, ministers colleagues and legislators of the ruling coalition in Assam will watch the film, while in Karnataka, Assembly Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri announced that it will screened for legislators.

The Madhya Pradesh government has said policemen in the state will be provided leave to watch the film.

BJP leaders, including former chief minister Vasundhara Raje, and Congress MLA Bhanwar Lal on Monday demanded that 'The Kashmir Files' movie be made tax-free in Rajasthan.

In a tweet, Raje said the film, "The Kashmir Files", based on the past situations and true events of Jammu and Kashmir, has been made tax-free in many states including Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat "My request to the state government is to make this film tax-free in Rajasthan too," she said.

Deputy Leader of Opposition Rajendra Rathore said the government should make the movie tax-free so that maximum people can watch it.

Ruling party MLA Bhanwar Lal Sharma also said making the movie tax-free will encourage the people to watch it.

"It is my demand that the government of Rajasthan should make the movie tax-free. This will encourage people," he told reporters.

"Atrocities against Kashmiri pandits have been going on for a long. The brahmins of the country are sad," he said.

Sharma was among the MLAs who had supported then deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot in July 2020 in revolt against the leadership of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.

BJP leaders on Monday hit out at the Congress over tweets by its Kerala unit on the movie 'The Kashmir Files', saying the party lacks sensitivity and for minority appeasement, it sympathises with only one community.

The Congress' Kerala unit in a series of tweets blamed the BJP-supported VP Singh government in the 1990s and also then governor Jagmohan for the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley.

In a tweet the state unit also compared the deaths of Muslims and Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir, but it was later deleted.

Hitting out at the Congress and its leadership, Union Minister Giriraj Singh said, "It is in the DNA of the Congress that the party and its leaders understand the pain of only one community for the sake of their agenda of minority appeasement."

"Sonia Gandhi can weep for the encounter in Batla House but doesn't shed a single tear for our Kashmiri Pandits," he said.

Underlining that the Congress "distorts history for its own convenience", BJP MP KJ Alphons said, "It was under the watch of Congress dispensations that over a lakh Kashmiri Pandits left the Valley. They were driven out of their homes on communal grounds."

The movie, which is based on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits since the insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir in the 1990s, has been also declared tax-free in several states ruled by the BJP.

A BJP MLA on Monday alleged in the Chhattisgarh Assembly that the Congress government doesn't want people to watch 'The Kashmir Files' movie in large numbers and pressuring cinema halls to not sell all tickets to restrict footfalls, a charge refuted by the ruling party as baseless.

"This movie has shown the reality and pain of Kashmir Pandits and everybody in the country wants to see it, but this state government is murdering the right to freedom of expression", senior BJP MLA and former minister Brijmohan Agrawal said in Zero Hour.

The film is being screened in three cinema halls in Chhattisgarh but tickets are not being sold in enough numbers under pressure from the state government, he said.

"Theatre owners have been displaying housefull boards after selling just 10-15 tickets," Agrawal claimed.

He said the government does not want people to watch this movie, which is unfortunate.

Later talking to reporters in the Assembly premises, Agrawal said that several states have exempted the movie from entertainment tax and demanded that Chhattisgarh should also follow the same step.

The legislator said BJP leaders will watch the movie along with party workers.

Refuting the charges, state Congress in a statement accused the BJP of trying to play politics over the movie.

"The allegations being leveled by the MLA are baseless. The BJP only does politics of polarisation in the name of Hindutva. How BJP has been reacting about the plot of the film 'Kashmir Files' reflects it is trying to do politics over atrocities on Kashmiri Pandits. BJP doesn't care about their pain," state Congress spokesperson Dhananjay Singh Thakur said.

Lok Sabha on Monday passed a budget totalling Rs 1.42-lakh-crore for Jammu and Kashmir for 2022-23 amid a war of words between the treasury and opposition benches over the exodus of Hindus from the Valley, with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman accusing the Congress of leaving the minority community in the state in the lurch.

During a discussion on the budget, the Congress, TMC and other parties alleged that the government has not been able to achieve the objectives it set out while abrogating Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and demanded the early restoration of statehood.

Opposition parties also accused the government of not doing enough for the displaced Kashmiri Pandits, an issue that has again gained political currency after the film Kashmir Files based on the exodus was released.

Responding to the discussion, Sitharaman attacked the Congress over a series of tweets issued by its Kerala unit relating to the Kashmiri Pandits who were displaced from the Valley during the 1990s following the outbreak of militancy.

Sitharaman said the tweets by the Congress with the hashtag #KashmirFiles vs truth on Sunday said that Kashmiri Pandits on their own left the Valley and not because they were forced.

"Our party's (Congress) belief is that it was not because of terrorism but the movement was due to lure of financial benefit and land offer in Delhi. Another belief is there is a long battle between separatist and those who stand for India," she said quoting the tweets.

She also said Congress was an ally of the government at the time of the exodus and the then chief minister left people to fend for themselves when terrorism was on the rise.

She alleged that under the Congress regime, the then prime minister met a separatist who had had allegedly killed an airforce officer and later conceded the same to a foreign TV channel.

MPs of the Congress, NCP, TMC and the National Conference walked out of Lok Sabha in protest against the remarks made by the minister after the Speaker did not allow the opposition members to intervene.

The House passed the Budget totalling Rs 1.42-lakh-crore for Jammu and Kashmir and also Supplementary Demands for Grants seeking additional spending of Rs 18,860.32 crore for the Union Territory.

Sitharaman said normalcy has been achieved after the abrogation of special status to Jammu and Kashmir while prior to that it was "fake normalcy".

The Government in August 2019 abrogated many provisions of Article 370 resulting in the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status.

With this, the state of Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two Union Territories -- Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

"Jammu and Kashmir was not normal under Article 370, there was fake normalcy prior to abrogation of Article 370. Post abrogation there is no fake normalcy," she said.

Sitharaman said 890 central laws became applicable in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370.

"Removal of Article 370 was necessary, it was delayed. We have fulfilled that promise given to the people of Jammu and Kashmir," she said.

Backdoor entry has stopped and there is transparency in appointments, she said, adding the system is getting better day by day.

The government is committed to the development of J&K and for the homecoming Kashmiri Pandit, several steps have been taken.

She assured the House that the government will fulfil the promises made with respect to the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits.

Reeling out numbers, she said, the government has built 1025 transmit accommodations while about 1,500 are under the process of construction.

The minister said 40,000 projects were completed in Jammu and Kashmir in 2021-22 and connectivity in the Union Territory is improving.

The Union Territory has witnessed a 90 percent decrease in ceasefire as it reduced from 900 in 2020 to 98 in 2021, she said, adding, terrorism has been contained and infiltration has declined significantly.

About investment, she said, an investor-friendly Jammu and Kashmir campaign has paid off.

"Rs 44,177 crore investment proposals have already been received. Employment potential from that is 1.80 lakh. Most of the investment proposals are from outside," she said.

Capital expenditure has increased in all sectors, she said.

A record 50 lakh tourists visited Jammu and Kashmir between October (2021) and January (2022), she added.

The finance minister said that the budget 2022-23 for J&K is more than Rs 1 lakh crore mark again, which is an indicator of commitment to make J&K a model of development.

This is an inclusive budget and all the sectors will get focussed attention, she said, adding, the government of J&K shall endeavour to double the farmer's income.

The investment proposal under the new industrial policy shall be cleared on a fast track basis and the power generation capacity is being doubled in the next three years, she said.

The problems in Jammu and Kashmir have got aggravated after the abrogation of Article 370, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said on Monday, insisting the measure failed to treat the disease (marz).

Participating in the debate on the Budget for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir in Lok Sabha, Owaisi wanted to know if the Modi government's economic policy has resulted in any gains for the people of the region after the abrogation of Article 370.

He said the measure has not treated the disease (marz), but aggravated the malaise.

"How Parliament of India can pass the budget of Jammu and Kashmir?" Owaisi asked.

The government had stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its special status under Article 370 and bifurcated it into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh in 2019.

RSP member N K Premachandran also wanted to know how much investment has come into Jammu and Kashmir after abrogation of Article 370.

Premachandran asserted social and democratic aspirations of people of the area need to be protected and statehood restored.

He alleged normalcy has not returned there even 3 years after Article 370 was repealed.



Comments(1)

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  • sagar

    that was not an exodus. killings
    2 months ago reply
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