Muslim groups of NSW University, Australia, have threatened students not to screen ‘The Kashmir Files’ and said stringent action would be taken if the movie is screened.
The Kashmir Files is a 2022 Indian movie directed by Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri that shows the exodus and genocide of Kashmiri Pandits from the valley in the early 1990s. The movie received several accolades for faithfully depicting Kashmir Pandits’ genocide and exodus from the valley.
Director Vivek Agnihotri showed the movie to various countries’ lawmakers, and several states (Rhode Island, to name a few) officially recognised the genocide of Kashmir Pandits.
The Australian Classification board approved the screening of this film this year by describing it as ‘the aftermath of the exodus of Kashmir Pandits in 1990 due to ethnic and religious violence’.
After getting approval for the movie in the country, Hindu groups at NSW University decided to screen the movie, which did not go well with the Muslims at the university.
The Muslim groups conducted a two-hour meeting on Tuesday (June 7) and claimed to have the support of Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi, Mustafa Rachwani of The Guardian newspaper, Mosiqi Acharya – Chief of Staff of ABC’s Asia Pacific Newsroom, two Deputy Editor of ABC News, the Senior Producer of Q&A, a Mr Kasim and various Islamic leaders.
AHM reported that a source close to the meeting said the Muslim group’s spokesman, Usman Mehmood claimed to have support from several politicians, journalists, newspapers, channels, and religious and charitable organisations and claimed that they would help him in not screening the movie.
“Let me be clear and blunt with you guys. If you guys agree, all well and good. We really appreciate it on behalf of the Muslim Society of UNSW and greater Muslims abroad. If not, ‘there’s other actions that can be taking place. ..these other actions are not lovely actions… Either we can go about this nicely or we can go about the other route. The other route is as we mentioned right now,” Mehmood said in the meeting.
Despite admitting in the meeting that he hadn’t watched the movie, Mehmood still branded the movie as ‘Islamaphobic’.
He said, “What are the set of measures that the UNSW Muslim Society is prepared to do? Number one…we have 25 signatories for the Muslim movement against Islamophobia. We can get the same 25 signatories done against this movie.”
Waving a document, Mehmood said, “We have a separate letter here. If things don’t go accordingly, we’ll be sending it to the Vice Chancellor, to the ARC legal team and to the ARC clubs. We also have a drafted response that we are willing to post on the UNSW discussion page on the UNSW first years, second years, all that stuff, on the social media platforms.”
He concluded, “So, these are the steps we are prepared to take. And we are not someone who is going to back down. Because we have a pride and a honour to represent and to support our religion, and to support the seizing of Islamophobia from happening. So that is how this is going to go….”
The 700 strong Hindu Society at UNSW voted to screen The Kashmir Files at the university’s Colombo Theatre on June 9 2022, at 5 pm.
Multiple attempts were made from the very beginning to stall the production and release of The Kashmir Files.
Earlier, director Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri’s address to the Oxford Union was cancelled by the Union at the very last moment. In a mail to the director, the Union informed that it had booked two events for the day by mistake and so won’t be able to host him at the scheduled time.
The director also said that the Foreign Correspondents Club cancelled his press conference in an undemocratic manner as part of a hate campaign against the movie. He also said some powerful media persons had objected to the event and threatened that they would resign en masse if the conference was held.