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Opinion: Why does PM Modi promote a controversial film just 2 years before the upcoming Lok Sabha elections 2024?

A recent film on the much-talked-about event of Indian history “the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits” is being made tax-free in BJP-ruled states. Whereas, there is a possibility of tension/alienate arising between the two communities (Hindu-Muslim) in the future regarding the film.

India — The film “The Kashmir Files”, depicting the prevailing circumstances and the genocide and exodus of Kashmiri Pandits and Hindus during the communal dispute that started in 1990 in Kashmir, has been on-trend in India for the past few days.

The film, directed by Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri, attempts to portray the violence that triggered the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley at the height of terrorism three decades ago.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a parliamentary party meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on March 15 highlighted the role of the film industry and praised The Kashmir Files, saying a campaign was being run to defame it.

Film tax-free in BJP ruled states

The film has been made tax-free by most of the BJP ruled state governments. The film has so far been declared tax-free by these states – Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, Goa and Uttar Pradesh.

After the film’s release in theatres, the film is being well received by Hindutva supporters as well as slogans of Jai Shri Ram (a religious slogan of Hindus) are also being raised in the cinema halls.

Future concerns about the film

Other people who have seen the film are apprehensive about the film to create tension between the two communities (Hindu-Muslim) in the future. People believe that the scenes depicted in the film are to create hatred, mistrust and tension between Hindus and Muslims from Muslim communities living in other states of India, and it increases Hindutva religious bigotry.

A recent media report by Kashmiri Pandits after watching the film has also been told that “The film only shows the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits, while people of other castes and religions were also killed in that violence. This film will work to divide people.”

This truth was not shown in the film

The film ‘The Kashmir Files’, which portrays the genocide in Kashmir during 1990, does not make it clear that during the rigging of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly elections in 1987, Pakistan did the work of creating mistrust among the people there. Militancy had started there in 1988, before the 1990 genocide. The young boys of the Valley began to take up arms, and Pakistan was providing the necessary resources for the militancy in Kashmir. Whereas in the film the main reason for the vandalism of Kashmiri Pandits is filmed by focusing on the people of a particular community.

At that time Pakistan conspired for ‘Operation Topak’. Pakistani General Ziaul Haq believed that what Pakistan could not do by war, it could be done in such an anti-India environment. Ziaul Haq was trying to encourage religious fundamentalism, militancy and separatism through Operation Topak. Kashmiri youth were given arms and training across the border in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. In this, Kashmiri boys were added saying that this is a fight for freedom. Kashmiri Pandits started being threatened in the valley. Islamic fundamentalists would ask them whether they are on our side (with Pakistan) or on their (India side).

During that time the current situation of the country was changing very fast. Rajiv Gandhi’s government was embroiled in the Bofors scam. As a result, he also lost the 1989 Lok Sabha elections. Then VP Singh took oath as the Prime Minister. It was a period of political instability. The Indian Army was embroiled in the Sri Lankan Civil War. The economy of the country was also not good. Here the dominance of Islamic fundamentalists was gaining ground in the valley.

Strong preparation for the film 2024 Lok Sabha elections

Another reason behind the arrival of this film is being told that the political advantage of BJP is also being told. The film is said to be the party’s strongest preparation for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in 2024 in the country. Because after Narendra Modi became the PM, Hindu-Muslim politics has been at its peak in the country. After the arrival of the Modi government at the center, there have been many such incidents with the youth, women, and journalists of the Muslim community which put PM Modi in question.

(The author Rajan Chaudhary is a journalist with Bahujan Media ‘The Mooknayak’. The views expressed in the article are personal of the author.)

Rajan Chaudhary
Rajan Chaudhary
Journalist, The Mooknayak | Email: rajan.chaudhary@themooknayak.in

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