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HomeNews ReportsThe Kashmir Files: The real stories of brutality presented in the movie

The Kashmir Files: The real stories of brutality presented in the movie

As shown in the film, terrorists like Yasin Malik got tacit support and endorsement from those in power and the ‘intellectuals’. In the year 2006, the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had invited Yasin Malik to a meeting in his official residence in New Delhi.

‘The Kashmir Files’ movie has made thousands of people realise the harsh reality of Kashmir and the brutal genocide that had been converted up or denied for all these years. Some even are finding it hard to accept that the movie is based on true stories and that the victims of the episode were never heard. The dialogues of the movie like – “The truth of Kashmir is so true that people may find it unbelievable”, “Broken people don’t speak, they just need to be heard”, “This is a huge war of information, narratives”, have shaken the widely held notions established by decades of whitewashing and denials.

The film takes viewers back to 1989, when due to rising Islamic Jihad, a huge conflict erupted in Kashmir, forcing the great majority of Hindus to flee the valley. According to estimates, roughly 100,000 of the valley’s total 140,000 Kashmiri Pandit inhabitants migrated between February and March 1990. More of them fled in the years that followed until just about 3,000 families remained in the valley by 2011.

The movie which is based on video interviews with first-generation Kashmiri Pandit victims of the Kashmir Genocide begins with the episode of the year 1990 when the then CM of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah had tendered his resignation. Abdullah had lost control back in 1984, probably after he had visited a conference in Kashmir and shared the platform with the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front’s (JKLF) leader Yasin Malik. Later Ghulam Mohammad Shah, who was supported by the Congress party had replaced his brother-in-law Farooq Abdullah and assumed the role as the state Chief Minister.

Shah’s govt which was supported by the Congress party had allegedly furthered the Islamist agenda in the Valley. The Islamists were given political space under Shah’s rule- Hindu temples were flamed, mosques were built instead and slogans like ‘Islam Khatre me hai’ (Islam is in danger) were raised. In 1986, the state was placed under President’s rule as Congress withdrew its support from the Shah-led government. Further, in November, the President’s rule was revoked after the infamous Rajiv-Farooq accord paved way for the NC-Congress alliance to take over the reins of the administration. The coalition ministry headed by Farooq Abdullah was again sworn-in, pushing the state into the quagmire of uncertainty.

Reportedly, the Islamisation of Jammu and Kashmir had already begun in the 1980s when the government led by Sheikh Abdullah had changed the names of around 300 areas in Kashmir to Islamic names. It is since then, that the Kashmiri Hindus were deliberately targeted and referred to as ‘Mukhbirs’, or informants of the Indian military. They were named in the hit list of the Islamist terrorist organisations.

The film ‘the Kashmir Files’ revolves around the family of Pushkar Nath Pandit, a character portrayed by actor Anupam Kher, whose son gets named in the hit list and then gets killed by the terrorists, daughter-in-law gets killed in the public and grandchild gets a bullet in the head. The pain of the family shown in the movie makes the audience question how can human beings be so cruel against fellow humans, in the name of religion. Here are nine incidents depicted in the movie and the way they happened in reality.

Attack on the judge of Srinagar High Court-

The movie has a scene that shows the frightened Hindu community of the Kashmir Valley following the killing of a Srinagar High Court judge in the broad daylight. This is from November 1989 when the terrorists had shot Kashmiri Pandit, retired Judge Nilakanth Ganjoo in broad daylight in Maharaj Bazaar, Amira Kadal. Justice Ganjoo was being watched after he had given death sentence to Maqbool Bhat, the leader of JKLF, whom he had found involved in the murder of Amar Chand, a CID Police Sub-Inspector of Jammu and Kashmir Police, resident of Nadihal village of Baramulla district.

In an interview to the BBC Hard Talk almost twenty years later, JKLF leader Yasin Malik had confessed that he had killed Justice Ganjoo. Malik was heard saying that the JKLF had shot Justice Nilkanth Ganjoo as he had announced the hanging of Maqbool Bhat. According to the reports, earlier in September 1989, the organisation had also shot Pandit Tika Lal Taploo who was a lawyer by profession and the President of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Kashmir Chapter.

The brutal death of the two prominent members of the Kashmiri Pandit community had made the entire community sceptical towards the law and order situation in the State. The fearful Hindus had started to feel deeply concerned about the security of their life.

Warnings through newspaper Al-Safa to all Hindus to leave Kashmir immediately-

The film aptly shows the threats received by the Hindu community to leave the Kashmir valley as a result of the rising Islamic radicalism and terrorism in the valley. The scene in the Kashmir Files where the Hindu women are deliberately harassed by the Muslim ladies and small children leave the viewers painful and agonizing. The Hindu community had no access to basic survival needs like food, and water. No grocery shops in the valley allowed the Kashmiri Hindu women to enter and purchase food items. Further, those Hindus who arranged for the grains or opened grocery shops for the community were either killed or threatened to leave.

A small boy aged between 5-7 in the movie is seen chanting slogans to get rid of the Hindu community. “Al Safa, Hindu Dafa”, he shouts in front of a diplomat’s (Mithun Chakraborty) car as Hindu women cry out their torture. The scene is again a real pick with a bit of cinematic liberty from the year 1990 when Srinagar-based newspapers named Aftab and Al Safa published the warnings of the Islamist organisation Hizbul Mujahideen threatening all Hindus to leave Kashmir immediately.

Al Safa, a popular Urdu daily of Srinagar twisted no words to tell the Pandits to leave the valley within hours if they wanted to save their lives and honour. Loudspeakers fixed on mosque tops had blurred a profusion of warnings of similar type. Anti-India demonstrations were seen on the streets with demonstrators going mad with anger, hate and revenge. Fear stricken Pandits had no source to find that could assure them at least the safety of life. Wall posters in fairly large letters, proclaiming Kashmir as the ‘Islamic Republic of Kashmir’, became a common sight in the entire Valley. Even the news bulletin, Radio Kashmir announced the names of the Kashmiri Pandits gunned down by terrorists daily. However, the newspapers Al Safa and Aftab later denied to claim ownership of the statements and had issued clarification regarding the same.

Killing of Four Indian Air Force Officers, 10 injured-

On 25 January 1990, Yasin Malik had fired 40 rounds at the Indian Air Force personnel who were waiting for their vehicle at the Rawalpora bus stand. Four Indian Air Force personnel, Squadron Leader Ravi Khanna, Corporal DB Singh, Corporal Uday Shankar and Airman Azad Ahmad were killed and 10 other IAF personnel were injured.

According to the reports, the shots were fired from the 2 to 3 automatic weapons and one semi-automatic pistol in presence of 1 head constable and 7 constables of the Jammu and Kashmir Police post, who did not react.

Nearly 30 years after the brutal killing of four unarmed officers, the TADA court in Jammu in the year 2020, framed charges under Sections 302, 307, Sections 3(3), 4(1) of TADA Act 1987 and Section 7(27) of the Arms Act of 1959 read with Section 120 against Yasin Malik and six others involved in the attack.

Justifying the killing of Kashmiri Hindus

A clip in the Kashmir Files shows a senior journalist posed at the ‘Kashmir news’ justifying the brutal killing of the Kashmiri Hindus. The clip roughly says that ‘the Kashmiri Pandits, though in minority, were trying to snatch the benefits of the Kashmiri Muslims and so were forced to flee from the state’.

Pertinently, the scene is the prime pick from the year 2004, when the ‘liberal’ journalist Barkha Dutt had contextualised the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits. In the video, Barkha Dutt could be seen talking about how the Kashmiri Pandits were comparatively wealthy and had good jobs. She adds that this led to gradual resentment among the majority of Muslims. In 2004, when Barkha Dutt had been in journalism for almost 10 years, a show called “Kashmiri Pandits: The forgotten minority” was aired where Dutt began the show by showing ravaged colonies of the Kashmiri Pandits and some sound bytes from the persecuted Hindus.

Later she said, “What all this has bred is a violent and relentless hatred. Personal friendships between Hindus and Muslims have survived over the decades, but politics in the state is completely polarised along religious lines. In fact, some say if there was a plebiscite in Kashmir today it would be worse than partition because voting would be completed along religious lines”. When Barkha Dutt talked about ‘friendship between Hindus and Muslims” and “Politics of hate ruining that friendship”, she openly toed the line of Kashmiri separatists who wanted to blame Governor Jagmohan for the genocide. The program was an attempt to shield murderers like Yasin Malik of JKLF and the religious hate.

Nobody pointed out the reality that the relative economic affluence of the Hindu community was mostly because they invested in education, thus ending up with good jobs.

Yasin Malik supported by the then government and ‘intellectuals’-

The then Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah had allegedly developed prime contacts with the Islamist organisation JKLF and its leader Yasin Malik for retaining the political power under the veils of Islamisation of Kashmir. He had tendered his resignation and that did anything but furthered the push to Islamist cries for ‘Azad Kashmir’. Despite Malik’s terror links, the erstwhile governments and the left-liberal media establishment had tried to portray him as a peace icon and messiah of the Kashmiris. Abdullah had shared the stage with Malik in a conference held in Kashmir and had asserted that he had attended the conference on behalf of the Congress Party to know the sentiments of the organisation.

As shown in the film, terrorists like Yasin Malik got tacit support and endorsement from those in power and the ‘intellectuals’. It is important to note that in the year 2006, the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had invited Malik to a meeting in his official residence in New Delhi. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had also held talks with terrorists on the part of his crucial outreach programme with the Jammu and Kashmir political leaders, separatists and other groups. The images of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh happily greeting the terrorist Yasin Malik has become one of the most dismaying images of the recent past.

Also, Malik had met far-left anti-India propagandist Arundhati Roy, who has always been at the forefront of instigating Kashmiri youths to wage war against the Indian state. Actress Pallavi Joshi in the film ‘The Kashmir Files’ portrays the character of one of the so-called ‘intellectuals’ where she is shown sharing camaraderie with the terrorists in the shades of Roy in real. Her dialogues like, “Sarkar to unki hai lekin system Hamara hai (It’s our system and their government)” display how deeply the ‘Left-liberal’ ecosystem has been entrenched with the government machinery.

Arundhati Roy with JKLF leader Yasin Malik (File Photo)

It is worth noting that recently, after the abrogation of Article 370 from the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Abdullah had said that the Kashmiri people ‘do not feel or want to be Indian’ and they would rather prefer to be ruled by China, instead of India. Also, the Congress party in India had condemned the government’s proposal on Article 370, abrogating the special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Woman made to eat the blood soaked rice-

One of the most heart-wrenching scenes of the film directed by Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri is where a woman is force-fed rice soaked in her husband’s blood. This is the recreation of a brutal murder from 1990 when terrorists had come searching for engineer BK Ganjoo, who had hidden in a rice barrel. He would have been alive today had his location not been disclosed to the terrorists by his own neighbours. He was shot dead by the terrorists who fired multiple rounds at the rice barrel allowing the blood to drip out of the container. The rice soaked in the blood was then forcefully fed to Ganjoo’s wife.

Women stripped and raped in public-

As mentioned, the film ‘the Kashmir Files’ revolves around one family and their sufferings during the 1990 Kashmir genocide. The daughter-in-law of a Hindu resident Pushkar Nath Pandit (Anupam Kher) is shown being stripped and brutalised in public. However, in reality, many Kashmiri Pandit women were kidnapped, raped and murdered. The slogans by the Islamists in Kashmir openly stated that they wanted ‘their Kashmir’ without Pandit males but with their womenfolk. Hindu women had to face horrific crimes as they witnessed the escalating Islamic militancy and terrorism in the region. They were sexually abused several times by several Islamic militants who professed to be morally superior in their jihad.

Girija Tickoo tortured, cut into half-

What comes as a shock in the movie is the killing of Sharda, daughter-in-law of Pandit. She is shown given away by the jihadists to the mechanical saw machine alive, cutting her right from the middle of her body. This in reality had happened to Girija Tickoo in June 1990. Tickoo was a Kashmiri Hindu from Bandipora who worked as a laboratory assistant in a university in Kashmir Valley. In the aftermath of the ‘Azadi Movement’ by JKLF headed by Yasin Malik, Tickoo had fled with her family and settled in Jammu. One day, she received a call from someone who claimed the situation was better in the valley and she could come back to collect her salary. She was assured of safety, and the person alleged the area was safe to travel to.

On the 4th of June 1990, Girija came to the valley to collect her salary and met her local Muslim colleague at her home. She was not aware that Jihadi terrorists were tracking her movement. Girija was kidnapped from her colleague’s home and was taken to an unknown location. Everyone, including her colleague and people in the locality, watched her being taken silently. After a few days of the kidnapping, her dead body was found on the roadside in horrible condition. The autopsy revealed she was brutally gang-raped and tortured. Girija was cut into two pieces using a mechanical saw while she was still alive, right from the middle of her body. Her family still awaits justice, just like the hundreds and thousands of other Kashmiri Pandits whose suffering has been deemed as ‘propaganda’ by the ‘liberal’ section of the media and society.

The Nadimarg massacre of 2003-

In yet another scene, where Vivek Agnihotri recreates the massacre at Nadimarg village in Jammu and Kashmir, viewers are left in shock to see Hindus being shot at point-blank range one by one. On March 23, 2003, 24 Hindu Kashmiri Pandits in the village of Nadimarg in Pulwama District of Jammu and Kashmir were killed by Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists. The armed militants came dressed in counterfeit military uniforms and dragged the Hindus out from their homes, lined them and shot them with automatic weapons. The victims, 11 men, 11 women and 2 small children ranged from a 65-year-old to 2-year-old. The policemen posted there fled the scene. The killers disfigured the bodies of the victims, looted their houses and took away the ornaments from the bodies of the dead women.

The Kashmir Files is undoubtedly a brilliant, brutal narration of the harsh truth of Kashmiri Pandits that took almost 32 years to come out in open. The movie, based on video interviews with first-generation Kashmiri Pandit victims of the Kashmir Genocide was originally slated to be released in theatres on January 26, 2022, but was postponed because of the increasing number of COVID-19 cases and elections. It has now been released and is running successfully all over India.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Siddhi Somani
Siddhi Somani
Siddhi Somani is known for her satirical and factual hand in Economic, Social and Political writing. Having completed her post graduation in Journalism, she is pursuing her Masters in Politics. The author meanwhile is also exploring her hand in analytics and statistics. (Twitter- @sidis28)

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