Singapore bans controversial Indian film Kashmir Files over ‘potential to cause enmity between communities’

‘The film will be refused classification for its provocative and one-sided portrayal of Muslims,’ Singapore government said

Peony Hirwani
Tuesday 10 May 2022 11:02 BST
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The Kashmir Files trailer

Singapore banned the Indian film The Kashmir Files for its “provocative and one-sided portrayal of Muslims” and said that it was “beyond” the country’s film classification guidelines.

The Kashmir Files presents a fictional storyline centered around the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in the 90s from the Valley — a mountainous region located within the Indian-administered federal territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Pandit community comprises a group of Kashmiri Hindus who are part of the larger Saraswat Brahmin community of India. The Brahmins consider themselves seated at the top of Hinduism’s caste hierarchy.

The film, which stars Anupam Kher, Mithun Chakraborty, Puneet Issar, Amaan Iqbal, and Pallavi Joshi, depicts the early 1990s exodus as a genocide, a notion that is disputed.

According to multiple reports, Singapore cited concerns over the film’s “potential to cause enmity between different communities”.

“The film will be refused classification for its provocative and one-sided portrayal of Muslims and the depictions of Hindus being persecuted in the ongoing conflict in Kashmir,” the Singapore government said in a statement on Monday 9 May in response to media queries.

“These representations have the potential to cause enmity between different communities, and disrupt social cohesion and religious harmony in our multiracial and multi-religious society,” the statement read.

In India, the film has been endorsed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with many other politicians from his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Critics, however, said it played to anti-Muslim sentiment and is loose with facts.

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor shared the Singapore government’s statement on social media, writing: “Film promoted by India’s ruling party, Kashmir Files, banned in Singapore.”

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