BJP promoting \'Kashmir Files\' with eye on Assembly polls in Gujarat, Rajasthan: Raut

Raut also labelled Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being the main promoter of the film

Mumbai: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Sunday accused the BJP of promoting 'The Kashmir Files' movie with an eye on the forthcoming Assembly polls in Gujarat and Rajasthan, and also alleged that an attempt has been made in the film to suppress several "harsh truths".

In his weekly column 'Rokhthok' in Shiv Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana', Raut said it was the BJP's promise to ensure the return of displaced Kashmiri Pandits to Kashmir, but the same has not happened despite the abrogation of Article 370, and sought to know whose failure it was.

Raut also labelled Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being the main promoter of the film.

Attacking the BJP further, the Rajya Sabha member asked the NDA constituent what happened to its promise of integrating Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) with India.

Written and directed by Vivek Agnihotri and produced by Zee Studios, the film 'The Kashmir Files' depicts the exodus of Kashmiri Hindus from Kashmir following systematic killings of people from the community by Pakistan-backed terrorists. Since its release on March 11, the film has sparked a debate among political parties. Several BJP-ruled states, including Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, have exempted the film from entertainment tax.

"The story based on the fleeing of Hindu Pandits in Kashmir, their killings, atrocities inflicted on them and their anger disturbs one's mind. But what disturbs even more is (the attempt) to divide Hindu-Muslims out of it (the story) again and win the upcoming elections," Raut said.

"The Kashmir file has been opened to win the (forthcoming) elections in states like Gujarat and Rajasthan," he alleged.

Raut said that films like 'The Kashmir Files' should be created, but - he alleged - the agenda of such movies has now been to spread hatred and confusion about (political) opponents.

The Shiv Sena leader said the makers of 'The Kashmir Files' had earlier produced 'The Tashkent Files', through which, he alleged, it was implied that only the Gandhi family was responsible for the death of former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri.

"In 'The Kashmir Files', an attempt has been made to suppress several other harsh truths while showing true news. Thirty-two years ago, the atmosphere in Kashmir was bad not only for Kashmiri Pandits, but for all, and the Kashmiri Pandits were the most-affected," Raut said.

The Rajya Sabha member noted that Kashmiri Sikhs and Muslims, too, were among those killed in Kashmir at that time, besides Kashmir Pandits.

Raut said that the first political murder in Kashmir was of National Conference leader Mohammed Yousuf Halwai in August 1989. Before that, an attack was made on the inspector general of police, in which the officer's bodyguard was killed, he added.

"Several such truths are hidden through 'The Kashmir Files'," he alleged.

Raut said that Kashmiri Pandits were not impelled to flee Kashmir for 43 years after the Independence.

He further added there was a BJP-supported V P Singh government at the Centre when the Kashmiri Pandits and Sikhs had to leave Kashmir in 1990.

"BJP leader Jagmohan was the Governor of Kashmir (then). The Kashmir file was in cold storage when the Hindus were dying in the Valley and fleeing it," Raut said, adding only late Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray was voicing support for the Kashmiri Pandits at that time.

Raut further also asked the BJP how it formed a government with the PDP (in March 2015) "which had shaken hands with militants".

"These people (BJP) did not even condemn the displacement and killings of Kashmiri Pandits at that time," Raut said.

He asked why were the BJP ministers in that government were silent when the PDP had termed 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru as "freedom fighter" and questioned the killing of terrorist Burhan Wani by security personnel.

Raut also asked the BJP what happened to its announcement of integrating PoK with India.

The Shiv Sena leader said Thackeray had ensured five per cent reservation for children of displaced Kashmiri Pandits in medical and engineering education in Maharashtra and asked why BJP-ruled states never took such a decision.

Referring to the deaths of 40 CRPF jawans in the 2019 Pulwama attack, Raut said the security personnel may not have been "pandits" and asked whose fault was it that they lost their lives in the incident.

"Isn't the file of Kashmir incidents smeared with our blood due to attacks like Uri, Pathankot to Pulwama?" he asked.

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