After many states declared ‘The Kashmir Files` tax-free, Maharashtra Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has now demanded that the state government waive off tax on the movie that revolves around the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits in 1990.
BJP MLA Ram Kadam said, "If Balasaheb Thackeray would have been alive, then the movie would have been declared tax-free but his son Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is yet to announce this."
"The reality of Kashmiri Pandits has been shown in the movie. How they were removed from Kashmir and Congress does not want the reality to come in the public domain. The movie does not belong to any political party. If the movie is not declared tax-free then all Hindus will take to the streets," added Kadam.
BJP MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha raised the issue in Legislative Assembly on Monday and demanded the government to announce the film tax-free across the state. Another BJP MLA Nitesh Rane wrote to the Maharashtra Chief Minister demanding the same.
Several BJP-ruled states on Monday made 'The Kashmir Files' movie tax-free, even as a war of words broke out between the saffron party and its rivals on the issue of exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley. While Karnataka, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh have already made the movie free of entertainment tax, Tripura and Goa on Monday announced to follow suit, as demands grew to make it free of the levy all over the country.
Released last week, the film is based on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley in the 1990s and has been written and directed by Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri. It stars Anupam Kher, Mithun Chakraborty and Pallavi Joshi.
The film is exposing a bitter truth and hence, it should be exempted from the tax, Ladakh BJP MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal demanded in Lok Sabha. Janata Dal (United) member Sunil Kumar Pintu too demanded that the movie be made tax-free, saying it reveals the plight of Kashmiri Pandits. However, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) member Danish Ali said that whether it is "Kashmir Files or Gujarat Files", films that create feelings of hatred should be banned.
Over a series of tweets by the Congress' Kerala unit on the exodus issue and the movie, BJP leaders said the opposition party lacks sensitivity and for minority appeasement, it sympathises with only one community. The unit in its tweets blamed the BJP-supported V P Singh government in the 1990s and also then governor Jagmohan for the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley.
Hitting out at the Congress and its leadership, Union Minister Giriraj Singh said, "It is in the DNA of the Congress that the party and its leaders understand the pain of only one community for the sake of their agenda of minority appeasement." "Sonia Gandhi can weep for the encounter in Batla House but doesn't shed a single tear for our Kashmiri Pandits," he said.
Underlining that the Congress "distorts history for its own convenience", BJP MP KJ Alphons said, "It was under the watch of Congress dispensations that over a lakh Kashmiri Pandits left the Valley. They were driven out of their homes on communal grounds."
BJP leader and former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje has urged the Congress government in Rajasthan to make the film tax-free, with a similar demand being made by Bhanwar Lal Sharma, an MLA of the ruling party in the state.
Bihar BJP MLA Sanjay Saraogi also urged that the movie be made tax-free in his state. The film's maker Agnihotri has described his latest release "The Kashmir Files", based on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley in 1990, as a film with universal appeal.
On Tuesday evening, ministers colleagues and legislators of the ruling coalition in Assam will watch the film, while in Karnataka, Assembly Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri announced that it will be screened for legislators. The Madhya Pradesh government has said policemen in the state will be provided leave to watch the film.
Starring Anupam Kher, Mithun Chakraborty, Darshan Kumar and Pallavi Joshi, `The Kashmir Files` revolves around the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits in 1990.