PM Modi on The Kashmir Files: Entire ecosystem worked to hide truth, now rattled by a film

In a searing attack on opponents of the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, referring to the response to The Kashmir Files film on the attacks on Kashmiri Pandits and their exodus from the Valley in the 1990s, said Tuesday that it has rattled the “entire ecosystem” which claims to be the torchbearer of freedom of expression but does not want the truth to be told.

Addressing a meeting of BJP MPs after the party returned to power in four states, Modi said it is not an issue about a film, but that of “bringing out the truth” and “presenting history in its correct perspective” before the country since this has been long “suppressed” by the “poori jamaat” (entire group).

“Jo log hamesha freedom of expression ki jhande lekar ke ghoomte hain, woh poori jamaat bokhala gayi hai pichale paanch-chheh din se (Those who always carry the flag of freedom of expression, this entire group has been rattled these past 5-6 days),” he said.

In a clip of his address to the parliamentary party — it was released by the BJP — Modi said this reluctance to present history and historical figures in the correct perspective led to delayed recognition of Mahatma Gandhi as well.

“History has to be presented in the correct perspective before society from time to time. Just as books, poetry and literature are important, so are films. Post Independence, we have been hearing about Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela but not so much about Mahatma Gandhi. The entire world talks about Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, but very little about Mahatma Gandhi. Had someone shown some courage, taken the effort to make a film on the life of Mahatma Gandhi and presented it before the world, the message may have been delivered. For the first time, a foreigner made a film on Gandhi and even won an award for it, and that is when the world got to know how great Gandhi was,” he said.

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Referring to The Kashmir Files film to attack his critics and rival parties, he said: “Some people speak a lot about freedom of expression, but no film was made on Emergency because there was a continuous effort in the country to bury the truth.”

“When we decided to mark August 14 as horror day, some people had issues with that. But how can the country forget that day? … Has an authentic film been made on the Partition of India?” he said.

Modi questioned attempts to “discredit” The Kashmir Files: “Aur ye film ka tathyon ke aadhaar par, art ke aadhaar par uski vivechna karne ke bajaye, usko discredit karne ke liye bada muhim chalaya. Aap ne dekha hoga. Yeh poori ecosystem. Koi satya ujagar karne ka sahas kare, usko jo satya laga usko prastut karne ki koshish ki. Lekin us satya ko na samajhane ki taiyyari na sweekar karne ki taiyyari hai. Nahi duniya isko dekhe, uski manzoori hai. Jis prakar ka shadyantra pichale paanch-chheh din me chal raha hai. Mera vishay ye film nahin hai, mera vishay hai jo satya hai usko sahi swaroop mein desh ke saamne lana desh ki bhalayi ke liye hota hai (Instead of assessing the film on the basis of facts, a campaign is on to discredit it. The entire ecosystem opposes anyone who dares to show the truth. He tried to depict what he thought was the truth. But there is reluctance to understand or accept the truth. The conspiracy for the last 5-6 days is to ensure no one sees the truth. My issue is not this film, but bringing out the truth for the good of the country),” he said.

He suggested that those who have different views can make films with their views. “There can be many aspects of truth and different views. Those who think it is not correct can make their own film, but they are shocked that the truth that they tried to suppress is now coming out with the backing of facts and efforts. The entire ecosystem is involved in it,” he said.

“It is the responsibility of those who stand for truth to stand for this as well. I hope everyone will fulfil this,” he told party MPs.

In the wake of discontent among some party leaders over denial of tickets to their family members in the recent Assembly elections in five states, Modi said it was a decision he took and they should not blame anyone else. “Agar ye paap hai, toh maine yeh kiya (If this was a sin, I committed it),” he said. “I am very steadfast about this decision.”

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