Interest in the horrifying story of the flight of the Kashmiri Pandits in 1991 has been renewed after the release of a Hindi movie titled The Kashmir Files. The film, directed by Vivek Agnihotri and starring Anupam Kher, claims to tell the story of a “genocide” – one that has been “forgotten” by history.
While throwing their weight behind the film, senior BJP leaders, PM Narendra Modi and a section of the mainstream media have also suggested that the truth about Kashmiri Pandits was always “suppressed”.
The Kashmir Files gets many facts right but also several things wrong. Besides, it has never been easy for journalists to bring out the truth from the valley.
But from 1989 to 1994, Newstrack reported from Kashmir, including on the exodus. Alpana Kishore had reported on the abduction of Kashmiri Pandits by militants, while Manoj Raghuvanshi had interviewed Bitta Karate, a militant who was accused of killing Pandits, but whose character The Kashmir Files conflated with Yasin Malik.
In this series, “Reporting from Kashmir, 1989 to 1994”, Alpana, Manoj and Madhu Trehan recount their experiences reporting from the erstwhile state. As Madhu says, “It’s honourable that none of us got any awards because we riled up every government that was in power and that’s our biggest award.”