Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday said director Vivek Agnihotri’s The Kashmir Files should not have been cleared for screening.
Pawar accused the BJP of creating a “poisonous atmosphere” by spreading “false propaganda” about the exodus of Pandits from Kashmir.
“Such a film should not have been cleared for screening. But it is given tax concessions and those responsible for keeping the country united are encouraging people to watch the film that stokes anger among people,” he said.
Pawar was addressing the minorities department of the NCP’s Delhi unit. It was the party’s second event in the capital in three days. The NCP is also planning a massive gathering in Delhi to mark its foundation day on June 10.
Pawar said while it was true that Pandits had to leave the Valley, Muslims were also targeted in a similar manner.
“Pakistan-based terror groups were responsible for the attacks on Kashmiri Pandits and Muslims,” he added.
The former Union minister said if the Narendra Modi government really cared about Pandits, it would have tried to rehabilitate them, and not stoke anger in their mind about minorities.
The NCP chief also criticised the BJP for dragging former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru into the debate, saying that VP Singh was the PM when the Pandits’ exodus took place.
“The VP Singh government was backed by the BJP. Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was the home minister and Jagmohan, who later contested the Lok Sabha polls from Delhi as a BJP candidate, was the governor of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
Pawar said then J&K chief minister Farooq Abdullah had quit following differences with Jagmohan and it was the governor who facilitated the departure of Pandits.
Pawar also rose to the defence of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, saying: “Political agitations are welcome, but Kejriwal was criticised for speaking up for minorities. The BJP is taking the country on a different path. It is destroying the unity of the country.”
Kejriwal recently said that instead of demanding a tax-free status for The Kashmir Files, the filmmakers should upload the movie YouTube. Kejriwal also criticised BJP for trying to gain political mileage out of the controversy. “Isn’t it insensitive that the BJP, even after eight years in power, has to promote a movie, has to put up its posters? Kashmir Files may be important for the BJP, but for me Kashmiri Pandits are important,” he said.
Written and directed by Vivek Agnihotri and produced by Zee Studios, The Kashmir Files depicts the exodus of Pandits from Kashmir due to the rise in militancy and violence against the community.