Fact Check: ‘The Kashmir Files’ and the disinformation surrounding it

Debunking some claims on Kashmiri Pandits and ‘The Kashmir Files,’ a movie based on them

Updated - April 02, 2022 10:04 am IST

Published - April 01, 2022 10:17 am IST

A girl walks past a poster of the Bollywood movie “The Kashmir Files” inside a cinema in Mumbai, on March 17, 2022.

A girl walks past a poster of the Bollywood movie “The Kashmir Files” inside a cinema in Mumbai, on March 17, 2022. | Photo Credit: Reuters

The Kashmir Files, a recent Bollywood movie based on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits during the nineties has provided fodder for various false and misleading news. Directed by Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri and starring Anupam Kher and Pallavi Joshi among others, the movie has been made tax-free in several States. It has also has rekindled the debate on militancy in the erstwhile State.

Here are some claims circulating in the social media about the movie and the so-called repurcussions it has created.

Rhode Island officially recognised "Kashmir Genocide"?

This is a claim by the director himself. He had tweeted on March 14 that Rhode Island, a State in USA, Rhode Island, "has officially recognised Kashmir Genocide due to a very small film."

(Here is the archived tweet)

A closer look at the citation he shared would let us know that there is no mention of the word genocide.

Journalist Raqib Hameed Naik reached out to Brian Patrick Kennedy, State Representative, Rhode Island and posted his response. "The citation from the State was to simply recognize the premiere of this movie," Mr. Kennedy wrote adding that "a citation is simply the acknowledgement of a special event. It does NOT hold weight of a Resolution approved by the members of the House."

Fact Check: False.

How many Kashmiri Pandits were killed in the Valley?

A reply from Srinagar Police Headquarters was being widely circulated with a claim that only 89 Kashmiri Pandits were killed since 1990. Similar claims can be read here, here, and here.

The image is genuine. Hindi newspaper Dainik Bhaskarpublished an article about the RTI. The article mentions the data was of 31 years, that is from January 1990. But the first signs of militancy in Kashmir started in 1988 and the first major attack was in September 1989 with the murder of prominent Kashmiri Pandit lawyer and BJP leader Tika Lal Taploo. This, and several other attacks were not covered in the RTI query.

To a question posed by the then Rajya Sabha member Amar Singh, the MHA on 20.12.2017 said: "As per the report of State Government of Jammu and Kashmir, 174 cases of killing of Kashmiri Pandits by terrorists have been registered by the Jammu and Kashmir Police."

In 2010, The Hindureported that the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly was informed that 219 Kashmiri Pandits were killed by militants since 1989 while 24,202 families were among the total 38,119 families which migrated out of the Valley due to turmoil. Shujaat Bukhari, the correspondent who wrote the story, was killed by terrorists in Srinagar on June 14, 2018.

While there are discripancies over the numbers mentioned by various agencies, it is certain that more than 89 Pandits, and scores of others lost their lives to terror.

Fact check: Misleading

Did BJP leaders break down after watching the movie?

An old image of an emotional L.K. Advani is being circulated with a false claim.

An old image of an emotional L.K. Advani is being circulated with a false claim. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A video of L.K. Advani turning emotional during a movie screening, and another one of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on tears went viral claiming it was their reaction after watching The Kashmir Files.

Mr. Advani did turn emotional after watching a movie on Kashmir, but it was Shikara. The movie was released in 2020. Vidhu Vinod Chopra Films, which produced Shikara, had organised a special screening for the veteran leader. His reaction was captured and uploaded on their Instagram page on Feb 7, 2020. Vidhu Vinod Chopra, the director of the movie and Mr. Advani's daughter Pratibha are also seen in the clip.

Mr. Adityanath too turned emotional, but the incident happened in October 2017, during an event to honour martyrs in Gorakhpur.

Fact check: False

Deleted scene for Kashmir Files?

A video clip of a man wearing skull cap speaking against the Indian Army and the Union government, and their alleged atrocities on Kashmiris is being circulated as a deleted clip from the movie.

A reverse image search on a screengrab of the person speaking led us to a Youtube video posted on September 3, 2019. The user has uploaded a Tiktok video in Youtube. We also found a Times of India article dated March 17, 2020 stating that the shooting, which was supposed to begin that week, has been postponed due to COVID-19. An article in Tribune mentioned that the first schedule of shooting began in December 2020 in Mussorie.

Fact check: False

Did an assault of a Muslim man occur? Was it influenced by the film?

A clip of a woman assaulting a Muslim man repeatedly in a train, forcing him to fall at her feet and even threatening to kill him, has been shared on Facebook with the claim that the incident was influenced by The Kashmir Files.

A reverse image search proved otherwise. Our investigation led us to a report on the incident by The Wire. It was dated October 19, 2021 – five months before the film hit the screens. According to the report, the man was assaulted for allegedly pushing the woman while passing through the coach. The woman was identified as Madhu Sharma, a Hindutva leader linked to controversial seer Yati Narsinghanand, who was recently arrested for making a vitriolic speech against Muslims at a religious conclave in Haridwar (He has since been released on bail). 

Fact check: Misleading

Morphed placard used to hail movie

An image of a man seemingly holding up a placard stating, “Kashmir Files in not a movie. It’s a wake-up call for Hindus,” is doing the rounds on social media. The image also appears to have been taken somewhere outside India.

Using a combination of reverse image and keyword search, we found that the placard had been morphed. The original picture had this statement: “Stop using group pics for your dating profile.”

The person featured in the image is Seth Phillips, whose idea of holding up cardboard signs featuring pithy remarks about a wide range of contemporary issues struck a chord with the public in the U.S. He was also profiled by Forbes.

He regularly posts images of his unique form of protest on his Instagram account, named dudewithsign.

Fact check: Manipulated content

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