On May 1, filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri lashed out at Wikipedia for the continuous attack on the film ‘The Kashmir Files‘. In the recent edits, Wikipedia has called the film inaccurate and alleged that incidents mentioned in the film are largely associated with “conspiracy theories”. It reads, “The film presents a fictional storyline centred around an exodus of Kashmiri Hindus in the disputed region of Kashmir. It depicts the early 1990s exodus to be a genocide, a notion that is widely considered inaccurate and associated with conspiracy theories.”
Agnihotri, in a tweet, said, “Dear Wikipedia, You forgot to add ‘Islamophobia… propaganda… sanghi… bigot… etc.’. You are failing your Secular credentials. Hurry, edit more.”
The references used by Wikipedia
In the initial paragraph, Wikipedia mentioned nine links as references. OpIndia checked all the nine links to see if they say anything about conspiracy theories, and the film is inaccurate.
It cited a BBC report from March 15 titled ‘Kashmir Files: Vivek Agnihotri’s film exposes India’s new fault lines‘ by Meryl Sebastian. The report dismissed the tireless work of Agnihotri and his team for the film by stating, “The film’s director, Vivek Agnihotri, who is also seen as a BJP supporter, has been accused of inaccuracies in his work.” Using this report, Wikipedia tried to depict that the movie was fiction.
The next report cited by Wikipedia is by Al Jazeera titled Kashmir Files, ‘hailed by Modi, triggers anti-Muslim hate speech’. The report mentions dubious journalist Rana Ayyub and The Wire journalist Kaushik Raj. The report made it look as if The Kashmir Files was propagating hate against Muslims. Interestingly, no one in the report bothered to point out what atrocities were faced by the Kashmiri Pandits during the exodus. The report suggested that the film was along the lines of the alleged divisive politics of the BJP-led Central government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The next link cited was from Britannica, where it mentioned that the region is “disputed” between India and Pakistan. It is a well-known fact that the whole Kashmir valley belongs to India. Pakistan occupied a part of it and continued to do so. In the past decades, Pakistan has tried to paint a bad picture of India by claiming its right in Kashmir and failed miserably every time. By saying that it is disputed land, Wikipedia has played into the hands of Pakistani propaganda.
The next five links marked as ‘Ref 15’ by The New Indian Express, The Hindu, News Laundry, Scroll, and Kashmir Digits were used to whitewash the genocide of Kashmiri Hindus. The excuse these reports gave was that the official figure was 219, which could not be considered “genocide”. It is interesting that when Hindus were killed, they wanted to rely completely on the official data, which was next to impossible to maintain provided the situation in the valley. However, when the victims are Muslims, they always say the official figures are underreported.
The next citation was from a research paper by Alexander Evans titled ‘A departure from history: Kashmiri Pandits, 1990-2001‘. This paper was used by Wikipedia to say the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits was linked to conspiracy theories. The paper reads, “The two conspiracy theories already described are not evidence-based. As Sumantra Bose observes, those Rashtriya Swamy Sevak publications’ claims that large numbers of Hindu shrines were destroyed and Pandits murdered are largely false, to the extent that many of the shrines remain untouched and many of the casualties remain unsubstantiated.
Equally, it is important to note that some incidents did take place. Leading KPs were targeted—some attacked, some murdered—but almost always as political targets (e.g., as integrationist politicians, judges and policemen). From the murder of Tika Lal Taploo, President of the Kashmir Bharatiya Janata Party, on September 14 1989, to the murder on November 4 1989, of Nil Kanth Ganjoo, a former high court judge, those attacked could be considered targeted for either political or communal reasons (or a combination of the two): Taploo was a Hindu politician, while Ganjoo had previously sentenced Maqbool Butt, a well-known activist for Kashmiri independence, to death.”
Now there are two parts that need mention. First, because Tika Lal Taploo and Nil Kanth Ganjoo were a politician and former judges, their killing was dismissed as part of the genocide. How convenient that was! The paper further talked about how the number of Kashmiri Pandits was less in the valley than mentioned as per the official data. Also, it said, according to their estimate, there were “161,000 Hindus in Kashmir division in 1990. Not all of these would be KPs”. While that is true and not all could be Kashmiri Pandits, does that mean the rest of the Hindus did not leave the valley? Even today, the Hindus who have migrated to the Kashmir valley are being killed by terrorists. This year has seen multiple such incidents.
Wikipedia is not a source of authentic information
Wikipedia itself says it is not a reliable source of information. As per Wikipedia, and we are not changing the words, “Wikipedia is not a reliable source for academic writing or research. Nevertheless, Wikipedia is increasingly used by people in the academic community, from first-year students to distinguished professors, as an easily accessible tertiary source for information about anything and everything and as a quick “ready reference” to get a sense of a concept or idea.”
It is noteworthy that anyone, literally anyone, can create, edit, vandalise and delete content on Wikipedia. It is up to senior editors of the website to allow or revert the change. In many cases, the editors or high-ranking contributors themselves make decisions that could be otherwise deemed unethical in the field of academia. With the recent chain of events revolving around The Kashmir Files and the deletion of profiles of celebrated journalists and authors, it is clear that Wikipedia holds no authentication when it comes to unbiased and genuine content.
Vivek Agnihotri says his page on Wikipedia has been vandalised for years
Speaking to OpIndia, Vivek Agnihotri said, “It is a political strategy. What they [Wikipedia editors] do is they cite those websites and newspapers that run anti-India propaganda. Also, they remove anything positive from the Wikipedia entries. They have vandalised my page on Wikipedia for many years.”
He added, “They have a trained mafia of professionals to suppress pro-India, India First and nationalist voices on the platform. They primarily target those voices that can reach to masses. People who give lectures in prominent universities and often visit foreign nations to give lectures have become their prime target. Their aim now is to stop the film from getting nominated for Oscars. They are using words like Right Wing, nationalists and Islamophobia as they are looked upon in a negative sense in the US. It is their strategy, and I believe it will continue till nationalists stand together against them.”