'The Kashmir Files' Should Not Have Been Cleared for Screening: Sharad Pawar

Pawar said it is true that Kashmiri Pandits had to leave the valley, but Muslims too were targeted in a similar manner.

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New Delhi: Hitting out at the Bharatiya Janata Party, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar accused it on Thursday of creating a “poisonous atmosphere” in the country by spreading “false propaganda” about the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the valley through The Kashmir Files, a film directed by Vivek Agnihotri.

“Such a film should not have been cleared for screening. But it is given tax concessions and those responsible for keeping the country united are encouraging people to watch the film that stokes anger among people,” Pawar said, addressing a convention of the minorities department of the Delhi unit of his party.

This was the second event of the NCP in Delhi in three days. It is also planning a massive gathering in the national capital to mark its foundation day on June 10.

Pawar said it is true that Kashmiri Pandits had to leave the valley, but Muslims too were targeted in a similar manner.

“Pakistan-based terror groups were responsible for the attacks on Kashmiri Pandits and Muslims,” he added.

The former Union minister said if the Narendra Modi government really cares about Kashmiri Pandits, it should make every effort for their rehabilitation and not stoke anger in their mind about minorities.

The NCP chief also hit out at the BJP for dragging Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of the country, into the debate, while pointing out that the Kashmiri Pandits had to leave the valley when Vishwanath Pratap Singh was the prime minister.

“The V.P. Singh government was backed by the BJP. Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was the home minister and Jagmohan, who later contested the Lok Sabha polls from Delhi as a BJP candidate, was the governor of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

Pawar said the then Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah had quit following differences with Jagmohan and it was the governor who facilitated the departure of Kashmiri Pandits from the valley.

He also slammed the BJP for targeting Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal over his remarks on The Kashmir Files. “Political agitations are welcome, but Kejriwal was criticised for speaking up for minorities. The BJP is taking the country on a different path. It is destroying the unity of the country,” Pawar said.

Opposition leaders had earlier raised this issue in parliament too, saying that the BJP was using the film as propaganda to target Muslims. The opposition also said that the Modi government had taken no serious steps to rehabilitate Kashmiri Pandits, and was only indulging in lip-service for political gain.

Written and directed by Vivek Agnihotri and produced by Zee Studios, The Kashmir Files depicts the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir due to the rise in militancy and violence against the community.

The film, which was released on March 11, has sparked a debate among political parties. Several BJP-ruled states, including Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, have exempted the film from entertainment tax. In several parts, screenings of the movie have witnessed anti-Muslim slogans.

Makers of the film have also been accused of playing fast and loose with facts and portraying a villainised image of all Indian Muslims.

(With PTI inputs)