The Kashmir Files turns cinema halls into hubs of hate mongering

Cinema halls screening Vivek Agnihotri’s film, The Kashmir Files, have become hubs of jingoism where sundry Hindutva activists and anti-social elements have no inhibition to give vent to their deep-seated hatred for Muslims. Crowds are seen calling for genocide of Muslims with impunity.

The movie stands accused of fanning communal hatred by exaggerating claims on the violence against Kashmiri Pandits who fled their homes and hearths when Kashmiris indigenous struggle against India’s occupation in the Kashmir Valley began in 1990.

Video clips have emerged on social media showing crowds in frenzy raising aggressive slogans against Muslims and who they call as “anti-nationals”, a term frequently used by supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for those who are critical of its policies.

Only the other day Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the 170-minute movie saying that some people are running campaigns against the film for showing the “truth” about the plight of the Pandits.

States governed by the BJP have declared the movies tax-free. Assam Chief Minister declared half-day leave for employees to watch the movie while the Karnataka assembly speaker invited lawmakers to watch the movie.

Muhammad Zubair a journalist tweeted a series of disturbing videos where crowds in theatres are chanting, “Desh ke ghaddaron ko, goli maro saalon ko (Shoot the traitors of this country).”

Another video shows a man, giving his bite after watching The Kashmir Files, asking people to beware of Muslims.

According to Zubair, a video shared by a BJP member shows a man announcing “Hum lar saktay hain, lekin jab tak ye secularism rahega, hum aese he martay rahengay. Agla number Kashmir ke baad Kerala, phir West Bengal, phir East Delhi.” (We can fight, but as long as this secularism exists, we will keep dying, just like in the film. After Kashmir, it’s Kerala’s turn, then West Bengal, then East Delhi).

The critics of the film, who had said that it was intended to provoke sentiments against Muslims, stand vindicated by what is happening in the theatres.

“Calls for genocide of Muslims in theatres following the screening of #KashmirFiles. Will the film’s makers, actors, admirers including the PM appeal against such calls? You know the answer,” Kavita Krishnan, a CPIML leader wrote on her Twitter account.

“The manner in which GOI (Government of India) is aggressively promoting Kashmir Files & is weaponising pain of Kashmiri Pandits makes their ill intention obvious,” former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted.