Uncovering india’s Propaganda Movie “The Kashmir Files”.

“The Kashmir Files” was released amid broad endorsements by the BJP, India’s fascist ruling party. The film claims to tell the story of the departure of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir in 1990. While telling the story of Kashmiri Pandits is integral in confronting Kashmiri history, Kashmir Files demonizes Kashmiri Muslims and presents a narrow, singular story on the true victims of Kashmir’s military occupation. Kashmir Files is yet another, more prominent, example of comparing trauma with the intention of determining who has suffered the most. India’s colonial occupation has caused rifts between Kashmir’s religious communities.

The film’s director, Vivek Agnihotri, claims to center the Pandit’s suffering and tell the true history of Kashmir. While the Pandit suffering is highlighted, the community’s pain is exploited with the intentional vilification of the Kashmiri Muslim community. India’s state-sponsored propaganda movie “Kashmir Files” has sparked controversy internationally and was also banned in Singapore for its “provocative and one-sided portrayal” of Muslims that officials in the city-state fear has the “potential to cause enmity between different communities”.

This film claims to finally uncover the truth of what happened to the Kashmiri Pandits in the 1990s.

Sanjay Kak asserts that this claim by everyone associated with the film is at best, odd. BJP, other right wing groups and many in the Kashmiri Pandit community have aggressively promoted their version of events in Kashmir since at least the mid-1990s. In this version, the expulsion of the Kashmiri Pandits was dated to one day (January 19, 1990), accompanied by an insistence that their exodus was the consequence of widespread killings, the looting and burning of Pandit homes and temples, and a high incidence of sexual violence against Pandit women. The community were victims of a genocide, and this was framed as part of the larger threat to Hindu civilization that only the BJP and its cohort could counter.

Additionally, the indian filmmaker of the movie, Vivek Agnihotri, is an Islamophobe and a sexual predator.

He responds to all criticism of the Indian state by Kashmiri Muslims by describing them as “brainwashed and radicalized.” He refers to student pushback of his propaganda as playing the “Islamist victimhood card” — completely gaslighting the facts and the experiences of those whose families have been impacted by the Indian occupation of Kashmir. In 2018, Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta accused him of sexually harassing her. He reportedly said to her: “take off your clothes and dance”. Read more here! In 2019, Agnihotri and his entourage also assaulted a Kashmiri Muslim at an event (read more here).

In short, Kashmir Files is a classic cinematic tool for propaganda. It only serves to further India’s power and agenda in Kashmir.

Agnihotri, the film’s producers, and Pandit supporters of the film claim that the film will finally begin to bring justice to the Kashmiri Pandit community. If their version of justice is mass calls for genocide of Kashmiri Muslims, I have to call into question their definition of justice. Both Kashmiri Pandits and Kashmiri Muslims have suffered the brunt of this conflict and share painful histories, many of which extend beyond 1947. Kashmir Files seems to close off any chance of creating a space where steps towards justice, reconciliation, and self-determination can be taken.

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Stand with Kashmir

Stand with Kashmir

SWK is a Kashmiri diaspora-led international solidarity movement that seeks to end the Indian occupation and support the right to self-determination.