‘The Kashmir Files’ is a whistleblower, it has given a lead

The Kashmir Files has received big hype. Millions of Indians will watch it in the days to come. Filmmakers say they had to overcome many hurdles in producing the film and there was apathy from some quarters. However, they remained undeterred by financial or other constraints. We appreciate their perseverance.

The saga of the genocide of Kashmiri Hindus (Pandits) at the hands of Theo-fascists and finally the ethnic cleansing of Kashmir valley of their presence is known to the leaders of mainstream political parties in the country. Knowledgeable Indians are not unaware of the pain and suffering inflicted on this minuscule religious minority of Kashmir. But the cowards and sycophants that they are, with no commitment to the national cause, will never speak the truth.

However, the true saga got submerged in the morass of Kashmir politics. The broad masses of people were watchfully kept ignorant of the dimensions of the holocaust because unravelling of the truth would wreck the very foundation of a myth of inter-societal harmonious relationship.

The Indian Left and the Congress in tandem converged on the vicious plan of suppressing the Kashmir genocide and ethnic cleansing in 1990. The two political entities had found that to aspire for the ascent to political power the path was of serving the communal instinct of the Muslims of India. Long back comrade Adhikari had romped home the thesis that Kashmir should be a part of Pakistan.

Driven by vested interests, the media czars concocted stories and canards to lead astray the nation that the Kashmir crisis was a sequel to the special privileges and perquisites monopolized by the Pandits. It was to bail out the ruling apparatus at whose doorstep, sooner or later, the onus of the rise of Theo-fascism was bound to land. When in his monumental work My Frozen Turbulence in Kashmir Governor Jagmohan exposed the malevolence of political leadership of the Valley as also the monkey business of the Central leadership, the cronies propagated that the “Pandits left en masse on the behest of Governor Jagmohan and not because of the fear of the gun of the jihadists.” The falsehood became so rampant that even men like Ghulam Nabi Azad — the once chief minister of J&K — and Dr Farooq Abdullah speaking to a television channel said that the Pandits left on the behest of Governor Jagmohan. The fact is that Jagmohan took the oath of office in Jammu on 19th January and arrived in Srinagar on the 21st January 1990 while the carnage of Hindus of the valley took place on the midnight of 19 January. On 20th January 1990, when Kashmir was burning, Farooq resigned and left for London to play golf leaving his state and its people to the wolves.

The sections of more influential media, the beneficiaries of the chapters in power and the vested interests, not only spread the canard but also profiled the majority community of the valley as the victimised and deprived one struggling for their “genuine rights”. But were the Pandits who had usurped their rights and thus deserved genocide?

The Daily Excelsior of Jammu was the lone newspaper in the country that reflected with great courage and equanimity the horrendous atrocities perpetrated on the Pandits. It published scores of articles giving a graphic picture of the genocide and ethnic cleansing. The archives of this paper are indeed valuable to rank as part of the national repository.  

Because The Kashmir Files of Vivek Agnihotri debunks the huge canard by unravelling the stunning facts of history behind the carnage in Kashmir, the spoilers are all finding themselves in a very embarrassing situation. The film has opened the can of worms.

It is not that Agnihotri is the first to disclose the truth behind the Kashmiri Pandit saga. Kashmiri Pandit intellectuals, writers and artists alive to the tragic loss of the six-thousand-years-old homeland and the severest onslaught on their cultural fund, tried in their humble way to wake up the conscience of the Indian nation to the tragedy that had befallen them and was bound to envelop the entire nation in not too distant a time. They travelled the length and breadth of the country telling people of their genocide. They knocked at the doors of prestigious international organizations claiming to be the protectors of human rights of hapless millions like the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, the American Congress, the British Parliament and the European Parliament in Brussels. They brought out pictorial and analytical material in tons for public distribution. They organized symposia, seminars, lectures, road rallies, sit down strikes and study circles. The Kashmir Sentinel, brought out by the Panun Kashmir, the top political forum of the exiled community — though short-lived because of being profiled as a pariah by the media czars — published a good number of the rarest of rare informative and analytical articles on the Kashmir conundrum.

But all this exercise proved ineffective firstly because the Congress government advertently stonewalled the projection of the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits at important world platforms. Instead, it picked up a handful of chosen people from the Kashmir majority community and pitted them against Pakistan and its ISI to showcase Kashmir’s secularist tendency. Secondly, it turned a deaf ear to what was being said by the victimised people. The government of India’s lackadaisical, if not negative, attitude sprang from the constraints of a false and contentious ideology that if the truth behind the Kashmir carnage was divulged it would expose the cronies at the helm of affairs. They feared that their entire fabricated superstructure of secularism would collapse like a house of cards.

Now that the film The Kashmir Files has demolished the structure of falsehood and the victimized Pandits feel they are vindicated because no less a person than the Prime Minister of India has welcomed the unveiling of the truth behind Kashmir carnage, the film in actuality becomes a can of worms because it gives rise to so many genuine and unanswered questions germane to the entire saga from head to tail.

The big question is how are the Indian state and the Indian civil society going to react to the cancerous impact of the Himalayan lies told and the plight of the Kashmiri Pandit community suppressed for three decades and more? What the film shows is only the tip of the iceberg. The analysis, annotations, additions, attachments and clarifications that will appear in the social media in due course of time will gradually uncover the real dimensions of the genocide and ethnic cleansing. Undoubtedly, many fundamental questions will arise which will reshape the future history of this country. This will happen because 1.4 billion people of India will wake up in the new dawn after passing a night of lies and falsehood.

When Congress partitioned India based on two-nation theory, how could Kashmir Valley, an overwhelming Muslim majority region become secular? When Sheikh Abdullah consented to the accession of the State to the Indian Union, did he consult the opposition groups in Kashmir especially the Muslim Conference led by Molavi Yusuf Shah? When he assumed power, he sent Molavi into exile to PoK never to return to Kashmir. Are the governments run by sending the opposition into exile? He also sent into exile the ideologues following the ideology of radical humanism.

Indian Constituent Assembly inserted Article 370 and Article 35-A in the Indian Constitution on the plea that the Muslim majority of the Kashmir Valley felt insecure in a Hindu majority Indian Union, and hence some guarantees were called for. The point is well taken. By the same token, what safeguards did the Indian Constituent Assembly elicit from the Valley leadership by way of a safety valve for the religious minorities of Hindus and Sikhs and Shias of Kashmir? None, and more particularly, when they were not even recognized as religious minorities by the Constitution of J&K.

Why, in the light of the attack of tribesmen in 1947, and later three wars with Pakistan, the Parmeshwari episode, the theft of holy relic episode and the attack on Kashmiri Pandits in 1986, the union government did not work out special legislative and administrative measures to ensure the security to life and property of the religious minority of Kashmiri Pandits in the valley? The J&K Government installed police posts close to the Durbar move residential quarters where Muslim employees are lodged in Jammu. Why was not the central government intelligence agency alive to the dangers threatening the Kashmiri Pandit minority?

Neither the state nor the central government has so far ordered an inquiry into the rise of Theo-fascism in Kashmir after 1980. How many FIRs have been lodged in the cases of killing, rape, kidnapping, arson and other crimes against the Kashmiri Pandit minority so far? How many culprits have been given punishment for the crimes they committed? Yasin Malik, the JK Liberation Front told the BBC correspondent that he had gunned down Justice Nila Kanth Ganjoo in Maharaj Bazaar, Srinagar. The same Yasin Malik was invited by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for a meeting at his official residence in Delhi. Bitta Karate, who confessed he had lost the count after killing 22 Kashmiri Pandits, roams as a free bird with parole from the court and attends seminars to give instructions on how to carry forward the freedom struggle. The former RAW chief writes in his book that he provided crores of rupees to Shabbir Shah one of the separatist leaders. The Shabbir Shah is now behind the bars.

Should it not be probed what role did Mufti Muhammad Saeed play as the then Home Minister in saving the Pandits from genocide; should it not be probed why the Corps Commander did not order movement of troops on a flag march in the city of Srinagar on the morning of 20th January to take control of things; should we not know why not a single soldier was moved out of Badami Bagh Cantonment on 20th January when most critical situation was developing in areas very close to Badami Bagh; should not the public know why the JK Police disappeared from their beats in the twinkling of an eye and left either for police headquarters or for their homes ignoring their duty and responsibility. Should not Farooq Abdullah be charged for releasing many militants from jail although they were under prosecution and included the diehard militants like Yasin Malik, Hamid Sheikh, Bitta Karate, Javed Nalka and others; should we not know how hundreds of Kashmiri Muslim youth could cross the border in Kupwara district to the other side and come back from the same route albeit with training in arms and arms and ammunition.

Finally, who is responsible for the eruption of armed insurgency in Kashmir? It is easy to pass the buck onto Pakistan and ISI. It is their job to bleed India. But has any Indian government ever set up a court of inquiry into the rigging of assembly elections in J&K in 1986 in which the ruling National Conference (NC) used all means to deny the right to free vote to the MUF (Muslim United Front)? What treatment was meted out to the MUF candidates needs to be probed into so that we arrive at the root of the rise of armed insurgency in Kashmir?

This movie ‘The Kashmir Files’ has given a lead. It is a whistleblower. It is not a film to be seen, enjoyed or regretted. No, it is a strict warning to the Indian civil society that it must wake up and see whom they are sending to rule over the country. It gives rise to hundreds of questions, it is a clarion call for a socio-political revolution in India, and, yes, it is a canister of worms.

Prof. K.N. Pandita
Prof. K.N. Pandita
Prof. K.N. Pandita is the former Director of the Centre for Central Asian Studies, University of Kashmir. Prof. Pandita was awarded Padma Shri by the Government of India for his contribution in the field of literature and education.

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1 COMMENT

  1. […] The much talked about film The Kashmir Files has received unusual media hype. A large number of people have seen it and many more in the country will watch it in due course of time. It has some poignant scenes revealing some tragic events of the rise of the “theo-fascist” violent movement in Kashmir. The armed uprising was conceived, planned and executed by Pakistan’s intelligence agency. […]

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