Politics over 'The Kashmir Files': Special screening for Bihar MLAs, MLCs on March 25; Shiv Sena rakes up PoK

The film, starring Anupam Kher, Darshan Kumar, Mithun Chakraborty, and Pallavi Joshi in lead roles, depicts the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley in the 1990s.

Published: 18th March 2022 09:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th March 2022 10:56 AM   |  A+A-

The Kashmir Files. ( File Photo)

The Kashmir Files. ( File Photo)


PATNA: The Bihar government has decided to arrange a special screening of 'The Kashmir Files' movie for MLAs and MLCs of the state on March 25.

The movie, directed by Vivek Agnihotri, will be screened at a theatre in the state capital at 6.30 PM on March 25.

"The movie is based on the plight of Kashmiri Pandits, inspired by true events. This is the reason the government has decided to arrange a special screening for members of the legislative assembly and the council. The film needs to be watched by more and more people," Deputy Chief Minister Tarkishore Prasad told reporters on Thursday.

The Bihar government has already made the movie tax-free.

The film, starring Anupam Kher, Darshan Kumar, Mithun Chakraborty, and Pallavi Joshi in lead roles, depicts the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley in the 1990s.

Former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi on Thursday launched a stinging attack on the Nitish Kumar government for exempting the movie from entertainment tax and said watching a film "does not fill people's stomach."

Talking to reporters outside the legislative council, she also taunted the BJP with the remark that movies must also be made on the riots that had ravaged Gujarat after the Godhra train burning.

"They are making a movie tax free. Watching a film does not fill the people's stomach. It does not give jobs to the unemployed. The ruling dispensation thinks it has fulfilled all its obligations by doling out a few kgs of foodgrains under welfare schemes", she said.

The RJD leader, whose husband Lalu Prasad had, as Railway minister, famously raised questions on the Godhra train burning, also remarked that films should be made on the communal violence that had ensued across Gujarat of which Narendra Modi was the then Chief Minister.


Meanwhile, another veteran RJD leader Shivanand Tiwary issued a strongly worded statement criticizing Nitish Kumar's "silence" over the matter.

"The BJP, which is an alliance partner, has succeeded in having its way by obtaining tax exemption for a film which does little except demonizing one community. This was not expected of Nitish Kumar who belongs to the socialist camp", Tiwary said.

He also pointed out that it was not without reason that BJP leaders across the country were raving about the film which is directed by Vivek Agnihotri and stars Anupam Kher, both of whom were known to be enthusiastic supporters of the saffron party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Meanwhile, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday said that the atmosphere being created in the country in the name of "The Kashmir Files" film will further increase the divide between different religions, including Hindus and Muslims.

The recently-released movie is based on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Kashmir Valley in the 1990s.

"The debate on this film in the media and on social media spoils the atmosphere of brotherhood and harmony. This should be avoided by the media," Gehlot tweeted in Hindi.

He said what the situation was at that time, the discussion on it at present cannot be called proper.

There is no need for any debate over "The Kashmir Files" movie, the chief minister said.

"The exodus of Pandits from Kashmir at that time caused pain to all countrymen, irrespective of their religion," Gehlot said.

"The atmosphere that is being created in the name of the film will further increase the gap between different religions including Hindu-Muslim, which is not in any way in the interest of the country," he said.

Director Vivek Agnihotri's 'The Kashmir Files' is a film aimed at inciting hatred against the Muslims by "unilaterally displaying half-truths and unsubstantiated fabrications," Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) chief K S Alagiri, claimed on Thursday.

The film was produced and released to "cover up and divert the injustice done to the people of Kashmir" and to distort the unsubstantiated slanderous allegations that the Pandits who lived like brothers and sisters with the Muslims in that state were tortured, he alleged.

"Through this film, the BJP aims to incite religious hatred and also seek political gains by disrupting religious harmony," Alagiri claimed in a statement here.

"No one can forget that the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who was instrumental in the accession of Kashmir to India, belonged to the Pandit community," he said.

Alleging that The Kashmir Files is a film that "unilaterally exposed half-truths and unsubstantiated fabrications with the aim of inciting hatred against Muslims," the TNCC president claimed that there is ample historical evidence that the film aims to spread myths.

The RSS and the BJP were responsible for the exodus of Kashmir Pandits who lived in religious harmony with the Muslims, Alagiri said and asserted that neither the Congress nor Jammu and Kashmir National Conference leader Sheik Abdullah were responsible for the exodus of the Pandits as their parties were not in power then.

In fact, the friendship cherished between then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Sheik Abdullah was the main reason for the accession of Kashmir.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi led government at the Centre had revoked Article 370 withdrawing the special status granted to Kashmir and trifurcated the state without the consent of its people, completely distorting the historical background of Kashmir's accession to India, the TNCC chief alleged.

"When India gained independence in 1947, various problems arose in the accession, the Pandit community's exodus happened between January and March 1990 due to unrest unleashed by militants in Kashmir. Jagmohan was appointed governor because he was a staunch Muslim hater and a supporter of RSS," he said.

He took exception to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for praising and encouraging the director of the film, and said their open acknowledgement undermined the secular principles enshrined in the Constitution of India.

"I strongly condemn the BJP government for encouraging divisive politics and disruption of religious harmony," Alagiri said.

The BJP should talk about integrating Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) with India instead of doing "politics" over the grant of tax waiver to "The Kashmir Files", Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said here on Thursday.

The Sena did not demand tax exemption even for a film on the life of its founder, late Bal Thackeray, he added.

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar had on Wednesday rejected the BJP's demand of tax waiver for "The Kashmir Files", saying if the Centre waived GST on the film, it will get benefit across the country.

The film revolves around the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Kashmir Valley in the 1990s after militants targeted them systematically.

"We made a film, a biographical film on Balasaheb Thackeray (in 2019). It was a good film. We never demanded that it be exempted from entertainment tax," the Sena's Rajya Sabha member said.

"The politics on "The Kashmir Files" is not right," he added.

The entire country knows the Shiv Sena's sentiments about Kashmir and Kashmiri Pandits, Raut said, adding that Thackeray had even demanded that the Union government give weapons to Kashmiri Pandits so that they could protect themselves when violence erupted in Jammu and Kashmir in 1989.

Thackeray also ensured that the children of Kashmiri Pandits who had to leave Kashmir following the violence got five per cent reservation in medical and engineering colleges in Maharashtra, he said.

"We did not produce a film and engage in campaign. We did not engage in propaganda, we did not do politics," Raut added.

The future of democracy would be in danger if the BJP did not understand on which issues politics should be done, he said.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said in 2014 that PoK will be brought back into India. It should be brought back. Do something, if you can, about that. Also, do talk about your promise to ensure that Kashmiri Pandits return to Kashmir," Raut said.

"When are you taking them (back to Kashmir)? Why are you only talking and releasing films?" he asked.


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