The Kashmir Files, which was released a week ago, has garnered a lot of political attention with the Centre applauding the film and several states making it tax-free for the audience. However, the Vivek Agnihotri directorial has also been facing criticism and is raising voices of concern.
On Wednesday, Mehbooba Mufti, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, accused the Centre of “weaponising” the pain of Kashmiri Pandits by aggressively promoting the film. In a tweet, she wrote, “The manner in which GOI (Government of India) is aggressively promoting Kashmir Files and weaponising pain of Kashmiri Pandits makes their ill intentions obvious.”
“Instead of healing old wounds and creating a conducive atmosphere between the two communities, they are deliberately tearing them apart,” she added.
On the same day, All India United Democratic Front Chief Badruddin Ajmal demanded that the film be banned as it could ignite communal tensions between Hindus and Muslims.
This comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the film, saying it has rattled groups that wanted to bury the truth.
Addressing the BJP parliamentary party meeting, Modi said that it is not an issue about a film, but that of “bringing out the truth” and “presenting history in its correct perspective” before the country since this has been long “suppressed” by groups.
”Instead of assessing the film on the basis of facts and truth, a campaign is on to discredit it. The whole ecosystem opposes anyone who tries to show the truth. They only try to project what they want to see as truth, the conspiracy that has come up in the last few days is to ensure that no one sees the truth,” he said.
The Kashmir Files is a Hindi drama film based on the testimonies of the Kashmiri Pandit community, who had fled from the Kashmir valley in the 1990s. The film has an ensemble cast including actors Anupam Kher, Mithun Chakraborty, Darshan Kumaar, Pallavi Joshi, Prakash Belawadi, Puneet Issar, and Atul Srivastava, among others.
On Wednesday, the film also received voices of concern from Jammu & Kashmir Students Association, who noted that the reactions of the public during the screening of the film is “disturbing” and it could lead to the targetting of students of a particular community, especially those from Jammu and Kashmir, studying in different parts of the country.
This followed after several videos sprung up on social media, which portrayed the chanting of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) slogans during the screenings of the film, stirring hate speech against the Muslim community.
The statement said that the onus of any unprovoked attempt of hate, physical, verbal abuse aimed at students from Jammu and Kashmir will be on the director. It added that attempts were being made on social media to build an atmosphere of distrust and discord, with the release of the film.