The Kashmir Files, a film based on the plight of Kashmiri Pandits in 1990 in Jammu and Kashmir, has taken centerstage with several states making it tax-free, while a new row has erupted between the Congress Kerala unit and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders.
The Congress had said in a tweet (now deleted) that more Muslims were killed in Jammu and Kashmir during 1990-2007 than Kashmiri Pandits.
Blaming the Congress for the condition of Pandits, BJP MP K J Alphons said that Congress and its allies created a situation in which the pandits could not live in Kashmir anymore.
He added that they (Kashmiri Pandits) were murdered and had a genuine fear for their lives resulting in the exodus.
Alphons claimed that things have improved dramatically after the revocation of Article 370, news agency ANI reported,
Adding that Congress does not understand history, Alphons claimed that the Congress have hugely distorted versions. He added that the exodus of over 1.5 lakh Kashmiri Pandits is common knowledge and that they were driven out on communal grounds by the Congress or its supported governments.
'Outcome of a Series of Congress Blunders'
Meanwhile, using the film to further attack the Congress and Jawaharlal Nehru, Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh was quoted as saying that "the Kashmiri Pandit community was made to leave their homes in the most painful condition".
Singh stated that the exodus and killings of Kashmiri Pandits was a result of "a series of Congress blunders", starting from "what's now recorded as infamous Nehruvian blunders."
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, on the other hand, has given his endorsement to the film, announcing that he and his Cabinet will go watch the film on Tuesday.
Further, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, while declaring the film tax-free in the state, said, "The Kashmir Files movie brings the truth about what happened in Kashmir during the '80s and the '90s. I hope all Kashmiri Pandits get back their land, property and get settled down there."
What Did The Congress Say?
Claiming distortion of facts and dissing the Vivek Agnihotri-directed film with the hashtag '#Kashmir_Files vs Truth,' the Congress Kerala unit said in a series of tweets on Sunday, 13 March, "Pandits left the valley en masse under the direction of Governor Jagmohan who was an RSS man. The migration started under the BJP-supported VP Singh government."
A day later, having deleted the tweet which showed number of Muslims killed in comparison to Kashmiri Pandits, the Congress unit explained in a tweet, "We stand by every single fact in yesterday's tweet thread about the #KashmiriPandits issue. However, we've removed a part of the thread, seeing BJP hate factory taking it out of context and using it for their communal propaganda. We'll continue to speak out the truth. (sic)."
The thread added, "For BJP, #Kashmir is a Hindu-Muslim problem. For Congress, it's a long battle between separatists & those who stand with India. Let's respect ALL Kashmiris who've made sacrifices in this battle. Congress brought peace & rehabilitated victims. BJP ruined it for politics. (sic)."
On being asked about the tweets, Kerala Leader of Oppositon (LoP) VD Satheesan told ANI, "We don't have any idea about that. Kerala Congress or UDF in Kerala never discussed such a matter on this film on any platform. I'll check with the concerned authority. We'll enquire and take action."
Here is a list of states that have made the film tax-free:
Maharashtra BJP MLA Nitesh Rane has written to CM Uddhav Thackeray requesting him to make the film tax-free in the state.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan Congress MLA Bhanwar Lal Sharma has said that the government should make the film tax-free in the state, for which he will write a letter to the chief minister.
The Kashmir Files recounts the 1990 Kashmiri Pandit exodus and stars Anupam Kher, Mithun Chakraborty, and Pallavi Joshi in main roles.
There have also been reports of sloganeering in theatres after the screening of the film with people shouting 'Jai Shri Ram' in Bengaluru, Hindustan Times reported.