Few films have raised a storm as strong as The Kashmir Files in recent times. A film made nearly thirty years after the original events that unfolded in Kashmir since 1989 has gained attention of everyone alike for its provocative, bold and in your face portrayal of the plight of Kashmiri Hindus. India’s youngsters have been shocked by the film with many resorting to the Internet to check if the gory details are indeed true, only to learn that all this took place with real people in real time in the place known as heaven on earth — Kashmir.
While we have a large section of people who want to know and understand how an entire community was tortured, raped and threatened to leave the Valley because of their religion with just three choices facing them — Ralib, Galib, Chalib (Convert, Die or Leave) — we have a huge army of Left-Islamists who are even going to the extent of calling this film a piece of propaganda. The latest one to do this is an Israeli filmmaker, Nadav Lapid who used the platform of IFFI, a film festival organised by the government of India to call this movie a “vulgar propaganda”.
The ambassador of Israel to India immediately got into a firefighting mode by posting a Twitter thread slamming Lapid’s views but the filmmaker remained unapologetic. He is rather proud of calling a film made on the plight of Kashmiri Hindus as propagandistic. In his defence, he said that the film justifies the policy of the Indian government in Kashmir and has “fascist features”. This is the first time in the history of a genocide being documented that a film is being called fascist!
What exactly are the compulsions of Nadav Lapid and his fellow leftists and Islamists to declare this film as propaganda? Well, the Kashmir conflict is a long drawn one where this tribe of Left-Islamists masquerading as intellectuals typically picks the Indian state as the perpetrator and the Muslim-majority population of Kashmir as the victim. In their hustle to call the Indian state as fascist and a budding Hindutva project, they forget that the Valley had a Muslim majority before 1989 as well and the state’s iron-fisted response was to the militancy that arose in Kashmir and not to the average Kashmiri people. The militancy which actually was an elaborate terror conspiracy made the Kashmiri Hindus its first victim. The Islamists with clear logistical support from the Pakistani deep state terrorised an entire population that was living in Kashmir for many centuries and forced them to leave the Valley.
The situation on ground for the Hindu population in Kashmir is still terrible in 2022 with targeted killings taking place to prevent these people from settling down in the valley. Despite the ordeal faced by the Kashmiri Hindus constituting the classic definition of a genocide, unfortunately it has not been termed as such officially. There hasn’t been a single commission of inquiry to look into the event. What’s worse is that globally every organisation and forum that matters has taken into account the separatists’ narrative in building their “reports” where again the Muslim population is the victim and the Indian state is their culprit. In this globally-dominant narrative, a film that portrays the mere reality of what happened to Girija Tickoo and many others at the hands of Islamists is obviously going to cause a backlash. Films that paint Indian state as the villain are welcome but not the ones that call out the Islamist designs.
However, a thought worth pondering is that what sort of a society are we becoming where the plight of Kashmiri Hindus is being called a propaganda by the Left-Islamists but the “intellectuals” are completely alright with the bastardisation of the narrative? Aren’t some facts in our civilised world beyond the divides of Left and Right? A comparable fact is the Holocaust of Jews, denial of which is punishable in more than 16 countries world over. One will immediately face jail-time if they take a ‘creative liberty’ in denying the Holocaust and glorifying the Nazis. But not in the case of Kashmiri Hindus whose genocide can be denied and their culprits including the terrorists can be glorified as “freedom fighters”.
What Nadav Lapid did will seal his status as someone who spoke truth to power in the leftist circles, but truth is that his statement has murdered the Kashmiri Hindus all over again.
The author is a PhD in International Relations from the Department of International Relations, South Asian University. Her research focuses on the political economy of South Asia and regional integration. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the stand of this publication.
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