Bollywood movie The Kashmir Files accused of spreading Islamophobia

Bollywood movie The Kashmir Files accused of spreading Islamophobia
The Kashmir Files has been accused of using the story of the killings and exodus of Kashmiri Hindus to spread hatred against Muslims.
3 min read
31 March, 2022
Bollywood movie The Kashmir Files has been accused of fanning Islamophobia in India [Getty]

A recently released Indian movie called The Kashmir Files has been accused of promoting Islamophobia by political leaders and activists across the country, according to local reports.

A regional politician from the opposition Congress party said the movie aims to incite tensions between Hindus and Muslims, and blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP party of fanning the flames of communal hatred.

“I strongly condemn the BJP government for encouraging divisive politics," said KC Alagiri, the chief of the Congress Committee in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

Earlier this month, the former chief minister of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India accused the national government of “deliberately tearing…apart” the Hindu and Muslim communities, while another former chief minister Omar Abdullah said that “many lies have been projected in the film.”

The Kashmir Files movie is based on the true story of the exodus of Kashmir’s Hindu minority, known as the Kashmiri Pandits, hundreds of whom were forced to leave their homes in the early 1990s after being persecuted and threatened by radical Islamists.

However, the movie has been accused of weaponizing the suffering of Kashmiri Pandits to create an environment of animosity and antagonism against Muslims in Kashmir and around the country.

Social media users have shared instances of moviegoers calling for violence against Muslims.

The film has been hailed by several high-profile BJP leaders across the country, including Modi. Several BJP-run states have declared the movie will be shown tax free in theatres. Congress leader Shashi Tharoor condemned the move and labelled the BJP as “abettors of disintegration & disharmony.”

Kashmiri history is a controversial and complex subject in India and the exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits, just like the struggle of Kashmiri Muslims under the heavy presence of the Indian army, has been largely ignored in most of India.

Over the past few years, New Delhi has tacitly endorsed attacks against Muslims including in Kashmir, where Modi's government revoked the region’s autonomous status in 2019.

As a result of this, Kashmiris lost their constitution, flag and ability to govern themselves. Kashmir, which is India’s only Muslim-majority state,  was subsequently carved into two territories, amid fears that New Delhi aims to alter the demographics of this region.