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Amoral sycophant 'used' to replace Dalit, tribal, minorities' plight with helpless Pandits

Vivek Agnihotri, wife Pallavi Joshi with Modi
By Ajit Singh* 
One election is enough to divide India on communal lines but this time a Bollywood movie has taken this hot space and is doing phenomenally well to widen the polarized discourse. The ‘Kashmir Files’ directed by Vivek Agnihotri have attempted to showcase the stories of horrors and impeccable crimes committed against the Pandits from the Valley who were forced to leave their homes in the backdrop of upsurge in militancy during the early 90s.
The far right bot squads are in full swing to persuade everyone that the film is closest to the truth and have even urged the Film Federation of India to nominate it for Academy Awards. Several BJP ruled states including the big ones like Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka have waived off the GST and entertainment cess to make it tax free.
When politicians give something for free it's better to see it with the lens of apprehension. The movie has all the ingredients that the BJP needed to push its narrative of hatred. In a scene, one of the protagonists (Anupam Kher) is trying to convince his grandson that Azadi is the song of terrorism and those students and academics who are demanding the liberation of Kashmir from occupation of a 'settler state' are part of a larger sinister network aka tukde-tukde (separatists) gang and urban Naxals. The film also seems to push the Hindu victimization card that perfectly fits with BJP's crafted hysteria of "Hindu khatre mein hai" (Hindus are in danger).
The creative liberty granted to artistes for expanding the horizon of cinema have been efficiently used by the director to paint every Kashmiri Muslims as some kind of collaborator and advertently put all the blame on their heads for the tragedy that befallen on Pandits.
This three hour long movie feels excessively dramatic and the makers didn't even bother to back their hollow propaganda with some convincing arguments. Perhaps they concur that logic belongs to the bygone days and in the age of populism, selective and biased reading of past events can keep the ball rolling.
The tale of exodus is incomplete without exploring the reasons as to what prompted the local inhabitants to burn the soul of Kashmiriyat into ashes.
Since Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) acceded to India in 1947, the Indian National Congress at the Center devoid the region of transparent democratic electoral process. Legislative elections of 1987 saw the voter turnout close to 75 percent, Muslim United Front (MUF) was expected to claim a landslide victory but Delhi didn't approved the results and on its direction ballot rigging was done on a massive scale that helped the National Conference to retain power in J&K.
Pro-independence factions illustrated the election fraud as the betrayal of people's trust and used this incident to fan the flames of separatism. Global events including the First Intifada and the disintegration of the Soviet Union proved to be a driving force and provided a fertile ground for the militant uprising in the Valley.
The 1990s was the period of India's tryst with Hindu nationalists. Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was taking his deepest dives in the politics of opportunism, a few years later BJP sponsored Rath Yatra which was led by Lal Krishna Advani in support of Ram Temple in Ayodhya led to 166 communal riots in which 564, mostly Muslims, were killed.
In 1989, 12,000 people, mostly civilians, were mowed down, dashing Kashmiri hope in democracy. Pandits were seen as supporters of security forces
During the same time, the Indian military in Kashmir was cold-bloodedly hammering the voices of dissent; a report published by the Human Rights Watch in 1993 revealed that in three and a half years after the electoral collusion in 1989 almost 12,000 people, most of them civilians, were mowed down.
The indiscriminate use of lethal weapons, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, rape and barbarity had reached to the saturation level. These were the reasons that resulted in the alienation of the Kashmiri hope in Indian democracy, and Pandits who were perceived as  sympathizers and ardent supporters of security forces and BJP's Hindutva image became an easy target of militants and armed rebels.
This movie can be seen as the reflection of modern India. Muslims, Dalits, tribals and free thinkers have been replaced with "helpless" Pandits. The country is okay with calls of ethnic cleansing of Muslims; it also brazenly celebrates the ban of certain cultural attires and cheers when legislations were passed to seize their citizenship.
The Modi government's apartheid policies, deafening silence of the Indian people and on some occasions their bolstering expectations from the state to lower the Muslims' constitutional status to second class citizens may bring out the Frankenstein monster that in the words of Arundhati Roy will consume India.
As far as Kashmiri Pandits are concerned they have every right to present their version of story but they shouldn't hire an amoral sycophant to do this job who won't shy away to use every nasty tricks from the fascist playbook to create irreparable fault lines that will ultimately help the incumbent political party to dismantle democracy in the garb portraying the true accounts of victims.
The “Kashmir Files” has tried to justify the unilateral actions of the government, one of them is the unconstitutional abrogation of Article 370 that really had nothing to do with the exodus of Pandits.
A film that is stuffed with nefarious ulterior motives and propagate the malice against people from particular sections cannot be made to stand in the line of worthy contenders that could represent India on prestigious International platforms. 
Calling this dross as India's "Schindler's List" is definitely an insult to Jews and their hurtful legacy.
---
*Sophomore in Bachelor's in Education (BEd) programme

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