MUMBI: Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana has alleged that ‘The Kashmir Files’ movie was brought to the screen with inspiration from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is using it to win the upcoming assembly elections in Gujarat, Rajasthan and other states.
Shiv Sena member of parliament (MP) Sanjay Raut, in his weekly column ‘RokhThok’ in Saamana also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of taking the reins of promoting the movie and questioned the BJP over its failure to resettle Kashmiri Pandits in the valley even after the abrogation of Article 370.
On March 15, prime minister Modi, while speaking to BJP lawmakers, endorsed the film, and said it is incumbent on those who fight for the truth to ensure all efforts to present history in the right context are supported. He further said that “certain ecosystem” conspired to bury truths that they do not want disclosed.
The Sena leader in his column said that the BJP won four states including Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa. “Now to win the upcoming Assembly elections, ‘The Kashmir Files’ film has been brought to the screen with the inspiration from the Sangh Parivar (RSS). The reins of promotion of the movie has been taken up by Prime Minister Modi… The film, which is based on the exodus of Hindu Pandits from Kashmir, their killings, and atrocities committed against them is disturbing, but the Hindu-Muslim divide that it could cause and its use to win the upcoming elections is even more disturbing,” Raut wrote.
Raut further asked whose government was in power at the Centre and Kashmir during the exodus and killings of Kashmiri Pandits, why did BJP form alliance with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), what happened to the dream of undivided India by winning the Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK)?
The Sena leader said that the BJP-backed government was at the Centre during the period and a BJP leader was the governor of Kashmir. “In 1990, 400,000 Hindus-Sikhs were forced to leave Kashmir. Then BJP-supported VP Singh government was in power. BJP leader Jagmohan was the governor of Kashmir.” He further asked, “What happened to the dream of Akhand Hindustan (undivided India)? When will ghar wapsi of Pandits happen? Or will their killings, exodus, and anger be politicised further?… The Modi government’s big promise was the ‘ghar wapsi’ of the Kashmiri Pandits, who were displaced in the 1990s. Despite repealing Article 370, this could not happen. Whose failure is this?”
A Maharashtra BJP spokesperson said that as a policy it does not respond to criticism made in the Sena mouthpiece.
Raut also dismissed Modi’s claim that truth about the atrocities and killings of Kashmiri Pandits was hidden. In a bid to defend the Congress party, Sena’s alliance partner in Maharashtra, the Sena MP wrote, “The prime minister in the BJP parliamentary board meet said that truth shown in ‘The Kashmir Files’ were suppressed. Nobody had hidden the truth about the exodus and the killings of Kashmiri Pandits… The film has been released to win states such as Gujarat and Rajasthan, [and] it is an agenda for the elections… Such films are agenda to attack political opponents and spread misunderstanding about them.” He further added, “The country’s history is not just being changed in the textbooks, now it is changed through the medium of films as well.”
It added that not just Kashmiri Pandits but Muslim and Sikhs in the Valley were also targeted during the 1990s. “The atmosphere in Kashmir was not just tense for Pandits. Kashmiri Sikhs and Muslims were also killed. The first political assassination in Kashmir was of National Conference leader Mohammad Yusuf Halwai in August 1989. The first admistrator who was killed was former IG GM Batali. Soon thereafter, his younger brother Gulshan Batali was murdered. Several such truths have been hidden in The Kashmir Files,” he added.
Directed by Vivek Agnihotri, ‘The Kashmir Files’ stars Anupam Kher, Mithun Chakraborty and Pallavi Joshi.