The Kashmir Files: The film’s depiction of true stories of brutality

The film ‘The Kashmir Files’ has awakened thousands of people to the brutal reality of Kashmir and the brutal genocide that has been concealed or denied for many years. Some are even having difficulty accepting that the film is based on true stories and that the victims of the incident were never heard. The film’s dialogues, such as “The truth of Kashmir is so true that people may find it unbelievable,” “Broken people don’t speak, they just need to be heard,” and “This is a huge war of information, narratives,” have shaken widely held beliefs established by decades of whitewashing and denials.

The Kashmir Files Movie Review: The Kashmir Files is an unfiltered,  disturbing plea to be heard

The film transports viewers back to 1989, when a massive conflict erupted in Kashmir as a result of rising Islamic Jihad, forcing the vast majority of Hindus to flee the valley. Between February and March 1990, approximately 100,000 of the valley’s total 140,000 Kashmiri Pandit inhabitants migrated, according to estimates. In the years that followed, more of them fled, until only about 3,000 families remained in the valley by 2011.

The film, which is predicated on interviews done with first-generation Kashmiri Pandit victims of the Kashmir Genocide, begins in 1990, when Farooq Abdullah, the then-CM of Jammu and Kashmir, tendered his resignation. Abdullah lost control in 1984, most likely after attending a conference in Kashmir and sharing the framework with Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) leader Yasin Malik. Later, Ghulam Mohammad Shah, who was supported by the Congress party, succeeded his brother-in-law Farooq Abdullah as state Chief Minister.

Shah’s government, which was backed by the Congress party, was accused of pushing an Islamist agenda in the Valley. Under Shah’s rule, Islamists were given political space; Hindu temples were burned, mosques were built in their place, and slogans such as ‘Islam Khatre me hai’ (Islam is in danger) were raised. As Congress withdrew its support from the Shah-led government, the state was placed under President’s rule in 1986. Furthermore, the President’s Rule was revoked in November after the infamous Rajiv-Farooq accord paved the way for the NC-Congress alliance to take over the administration. The coalition ministry led by Farooq Abdullah was sworn in once more, plunging the state into a quagmire of uncertainty.

The film ‘The Kashmir Files’ revolves around the family of Pushkar Nath Pandit, played by actor Anupam Kher, whose son is named on a hit list and then killed by terrorists, the daughter-in-law is killed in public, and grandchild is shot in the head. The film’s depiction of the family’s pain raises the question of how humans can be so cruel to one another in the name of religion. Here are nine incidents depicted in the film and how they actually occurred.

Attack on the judge of Srinagar High Court-

A scene in the film depicts the terrified Hindu community of the Kashmir Valley following the assassination of a Srinagar High Court judge in broad daylight. This is from November 1989, when terrorists shot Kashmiri Pandit, retired Judge Nilakanth Ganjoo in broad daylight in Amira Kadal’s Maharaj Bazaar. Justice Ganjoo was being watched after he sentenced Maqbool Bhat, the leader of the JKLF, to death for his involvement in the murder of Amar Chand, a CID Police Sub-Inspector of the Jammu and Kashmir Police and a resident of Nadihal village in the Baramulla district.

JKLF leader Yasin Malik confessed to killing Justice Ganjoo in an interview with BBC Hard Talk almost two decades later. Malik was overheard saying that the JKLF had shot Justice Nilkanth Ganjoo as he announced Maqbool Bhat’s hanging. According to reports, the organization also assassinated Pandit Tika Lal Taploo, a lawyer by profession and the President of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Kashmir Chapter, in September 1989.

All Hindus have been warned to leave Kashmir immediately, according to the newspaper Al-Safa.

The film depicts the Hindu community’s threats to leave the Kashmir valley as a result of rising Islamic radicalism and terrorism in the valley. The scene in Kashmir Files in which Hindu women are purposefully harassed by Muslim ladies and small children is painful and agonizing for the viewers. The Hindu community lacked access to basic survival necessities such as food and water. No grocery stores in the valley allowed Kashmiri Hindu women to enter and buy food. Those Hindus who arranged for grains or opened grocery stores for the community were either killed or threatened with expulsion.

Killing of Four Indian Air Force Officers, 10 injured-

Yasin Malik fired 40 rounds at Indian Air Force personnel who were waiting for their vehicle at the Rawalpora bus stand on January 25, 1990. Squadron Leader Ravi Khanna, Corporal DB Singh, Corporal Uday Shankar, and Airman Azad Ahmad were killed, and ten other IAF personnel were injured.

Justifying the killing of Kashmiri Hindus

In the Kashmir Files, a senior journalist is seen posing at the ‘Kashmir news’ justifying the brutal killing of Kashmiri Hindus. According to the clip, “the Kashmiri Pandits, though in minority, were attempting to snare the benefits of the Kashmiri Muslims and were thus forced to flee the state.”

The scene is a prime example from 2004 when the ‘liberal’ journalist Barkha Dutt contextualized the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits. In the video, Barkha Dutt can be seen discussing how Kashmiri Pandits were relatively wealthy and had good jobs. She goes on to say that this has led to a gradual resentment among the majority of Muslims. In 2004, after nearly ten years in journalism, Barkha Dutt aired a show called “Kashmiri Pandits: The Forgotten Minority,” in which Dutt began the show by showing ravaged Kashmiri Pandit colonies and sound bytes from persecuted Hindus.

The Kashmir Files is unquestionably a brilliant, brutal depiction of the harsh reality of Kashmiri Pandits that took nearly 32 years to emerge. The film, which is based on video interviews with first-generation Kashmiri Pandit victims of the Kashmir Genocide, was scheduled to be released in theatres on January 26, 2022, but it was postponed due to an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and elections. It has now been released and is being used successfully throughout India.