The much-debated ‘The Kashmir Files’ movie, which recalls the alleged genocide of the Kashmiri Pandits, was released on 12 March. Only after two weeks of its release, the antagonistic effects of the movie can be seen on the ground. A Kashmiri man was denied room by a hotel in Delhi even after he showed his valid identity cards including Aadhar card. What was his fault? Nothing, just he was a Kashmiri!
Before coming to ‘The Kashmir Files’ film, I want to make it clear at the outset that any innocent’s killing is highly condemnable. Every religion denounces violence and bloodbath. Islam insists that killing of one innocent human being is the killing of whole humanity. A true Muslim can never kill or support killing of innocent humans, be he a Hindu, Christian or Jew.
The killing and exodus of Kahsmiri Pandits is highly condemnable and regrettable. Every Kashmiri should rue for the sufferings Kahsmiri Pandits have undergone post-1990. We should realise how it feels to become a migrant in one’s own country, how it feels to leave one’s own home forever behind.
However, ‘The Kashmir Files’ has projected lies about Kashmiri Muslims in an unacceptable and dangerous way. It has potential of disturbing the communal harmony in the country. The disturbing video clips on social media, of people bluntly calling for hate against Muslims in many movie theatres, is evidence of its repercussions.
The biggest problem with the movie is that it maligns Kashmiri Muslims, and it falsely portrays the 1990 Pandit exodus as genocide.
The 170-minute movie is loose with facts and has tendency of fanning anti-Muslim sentiments. The movie is Islamophobic. It blatantly pulls all stops to peddle lies about Kahsmiri Muslims.
The film brings Farooq Abdullah and Mufti Mohammad Sayeed under direct attack. It obliquely seems to hold the Congress responsible for the exodus. However, it forgets to tell us that a BJP-backed National Front government helmed the country when the exodus took place.
The film vehemently argues that what happened to Kashmiri Pandits after the inception of militancy in Kashmir was “genocide”. However, both the official and unofficial figures suggest that the killings of Kashmiri Pandits were not enough to be called a genocide. In a reply to an RTI application filed by PP Kapoor last year, the DSP of the district police headquarters in Srinagar replied that the total number of Kashmiri Pandits who were killed by militants since the inception of militancy in 1990 is 89. According to the Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS), between 1990 and 2011, a total number of 400 Pandits have been killed.
The film was hailed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and many others for calling attention to a part of history which was allegedly swept under the carpet. However the question is, why the Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS) President Sanjay Tickoo went unheard when he vociferously asserted that there is lack of will both on the part of the UT administration and the central government to bring back Kashmiri migrant Pandits back to the Valley. Why didn’t any new channel make this a topic of prime time debate?
Replying to a question in an interview with Newsclick in October 2021, KPSS president Sanjay Tickoo said the situation today is worse in comparison to the 1990s. Which is preventing those who are wielding power to bring them back to their homes?
This year marks the 32nd year of the Pandit exodus. There seems to be no plan for their rehabilitation. After abrogation of special status of J&K they were shown a false dream. So far, no significant steps have been taken for their rehabilitation.
To conclude, I can sincerely affirm that we Kashmiris want our Pandit brothers back in their homes in the valley. We want to live with our Pandit brothers with peace and amity. When we meet our migrant Pandit neighbours we burst into tears. May peace prevail and Kashmiri Pandits be able to return to their homes.
The writer is a Kashmiri Muslim studying law at Kashmir University. He tweets at ummar-jamal and can be reached at [email protected]