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Five Reasons Why Chopra’s Mission Kashmir Failed With His New Flick – Shikara

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Bollywood film Shikara ignited a lot of hype, agitation and mixed reviews from all over. I finally decided to watch Shikara myself and share an honest, unbiased review. 

The movie, as we all know, is directed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra (the director of Mission Kashmir), who promoted the movie as the Untold Story of Kashmiri Pandits.

Indian Media Wakes-Up After 30 Years To Cover Kashmiri Pandit Genocide

If taken at a face value, Shikara is a great film to watch. Beautifully shot, enchanting music, especially the wedding song, and most importantly a mesmerizing plot which keeps you hooked to the screen.

The lead actors, especially Sadia, does a very good job. She looks and acts like a typical Kashmiri Pandit girl and essays the role of Shanti to near perfection.

So, why are Kashmiri pandits furious after watching Shikara? Where has the movie gone wrong and what could Vidhu Vinod Chopra have done to add more weight to the movie script? Why does Shikara fail to achieve Missions Kashmir –  i.e. to highlight the cause of Kashmiri Pandits?

1. Ignored The Bloody Exodus Of Kashmiri Pandits

Over five lakh Kashmiri Pandits were forced, almost overnight, to leave their homes, packing whatever they could, to escape the genocidal campaign unleashed by the Islamic radicals.

Kashmir resonated with anti-India and anti-Hindu slogans – “Oh merciless, oh infidels, leave our Kashmir”; “If you want to stay in Kashmir, you have to say Allahu Akbar”; “We want Pakistan, along with Hindu women but not their men.”

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The pious Mosques became the nerve centre for terror activities in Kashmir. The law and order situation collapsed; kidnappings, killings, and rapes became rampant. Terrorist organizations like the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) and Hizb-ul Mujahideen issued open threats to Kashmiri Pandits. They were given three choices – convert to Islam, leave Kashmir, or perish.

On 4 January 1990, Srinagar-based newspaper Aftab released a message, warning all Hindus to leave Kashmir immediately. On 14 April 1990, another Srinagar based newspaper named Al-Safa republished the same warning. Both the warnings came from Hizbul Mujahideen.

Walls were pasted with posters with threatening messages to all Pandits to steadfastly follow the Islamic rules which included abidance by the Islamic dress code, complete ban on alcohol, cinemas, and video parlours and stringent restrictions on the movement of Kashmiri women.

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Prominent Kashmiri Pandits were murdered in cold blood, women were gruesomely raped, houses were turned to ashed, hospitals refused to treat the injured and the neighbours became informants of the militants or picked-up the guns themselves.

Pushed against the wall, the minority Kashmiri Pandits fled the valley, almost overnight. Half a million Pandits were displaced, marking the largest-ever exodus since India’s partition in 1947. By the end of 1990, all of Kashmir was almost cleansed of Pandits.

Vidhu Vinod Chopra could have covered more in the limited time he had, however, he intentionally decides to close his eyes and stay away from the brutal realities.

2. Jammu Refugee Camps

The Indian Government established camps in Jammu post the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits. The camps were an ideal model of inhuman and apathetic treatment meted out to a civilized community reduced to the abominable status of refugees.

Why Kashmiri Hindus Never Retaliated Against The Muslims Of Kashmir?

The KP refugees were dumped in the camp and left to fend for themselves. No person of any significance really visited or stayed in the camp so that the frightful conditions of the camps could be improved.

The tents were torn to shreds and the sun and rains have been great tormentors for the inhabitants. The camps were worse than a slum. Heaps of dirt and garbage with foul and stinking smell engulfed the refugee camps. 

The latrines were abominably filthy and over-flowing. In some tents, more than one family could be seen huddled together. If a family chooses to move out of the tent to rented accommodation, the Relief Agencies score it off their registers and stop their meagre allowance on which most of them eke out an existence.

We Killed Kashmiri Pandits because they were Indian Agents

The camps were literal death-holes, the residents afflicted with varied diseases and ailments as a result of challenging surroundings. Many young men and women died prematurely and could not be saved for want of proper medical treatment. Scores fell prey to sun-strokes (as they were not used to living in such high temperatures) while many more died from snake bites.

Vinod Chopras almost ends up depicting the camps as a pleasant place as the protagonists decided against leaving the ‘Happy Camps’. If the exodus was brutal, living in Jammu camps was even worse.

3. The Killing Of Nurse

Vidhu Vinod Chopra brings the character of nurses in the movie which had an uncanny resemblance with a KP nurse (Sarla Bhat) who was kidnapped and brutally murdered.

Sarla Bhat, working as a resident nurse at the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences in Soura, Srinagar was abducted from her hostel. After four days, her mutilated body was found in an area downtown. Sarla Bhat was abducted, gang-raped murdered and body mutilated.

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A handwritten note was attached to it, describing her as a police informant. Sarla Bhat was in her mid-twenties. After her body was handed over to her father, Shambu Nath Bhat, in Anantnag, was not even permitted to carry out the last rites during her cremation. It was a rushed affair as the militants had ordered the people in the locality to keep away from the family.

Vinod Chopra lacked the courage to show the gruesome reality on the big screen but did make an indirect reference.

4. Kid Sloganeering

Vinod Chopra shows a young boy talking of building a temple and sloganeering against the Mosque. The clearly depicts that young KP boys were getting somewhat radicalized in the Jammu camps until a noble soul – Shiv Kumar steps in and counsels the students.

However, till this date, there is not even a single case of a retaliatory attack / malicious campaign by a Kashmir Pandit on a fellow Muslim as KP’s only focussed in educating their children rather than inciting violence and hate.

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As SK Koul writes, despite facing the brunt of Islamic terrorism, the Kashmiri Hindu community remained an embodiment of patience, tolerance and perseverance. This community neither resorted to crime nor begged anyone for alms and neither retaliated against fellow Kashmiris, despite all the savagenesses.

We tolerated hardships and worked hard for our livelihood. We managed to educate our children and prepared them for the battle of life by picking up books and not stones or guns.

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We never instilled in them the sense of revenge but inspired them to strive for excellence in all fields. We inculcated positive, constructive and patriotic values in their hearts which helped them to thrive in a hostile world.

Thankfully, Vinod Chopra ends up showing the sloganeering kid – Leader Ladru, as an eminent doctor. 

5. Unrealistic End

Vinod Chopra beautifully concludes the movie by showing that Shiv Kumar Dhar returns to the Kashmir Valley and becoming a teacher. The scene is very emotional especially after his wife succumbs in his arms while viewing the glorious Taj Mahal.

30 Years & No Results: Have Kashmiri Pandits Only Been Used As Political Tools By Successive Indian Governments?

However, January 2020 marked the 30th year in exile for Kashmir Pandits and still, there is no sign of return. Kashmir Pandits are still raising their voices to seek active support from the Indian Government for their rightful rehabilitation which has been denied to them for over three decades.

As experts write – The Kashmiri Pandits are no political party’s vote bank as they are numerically irrelevant and extensively scattered a group with no political weight or economic clout. To the Muslim rulers of Kashmir they were the “agents” of India as Sheikh Abdullah –- Nehru’s secularist Kashmir hero — paints them in his biography, and to the New Delhi Sultans they are suspect because they are “Kashmiris” and not Indians. Thus the KP community is lost between the devil and the deep sea.

Vinod Chopra also deboarded the sinking ship of Kashmiri Pandits and instead preferred to woo the masses than please the now irrelevant Kashmiri Pandits. The Mission Kashmir is yet to be achieved! 

 

Penned By A Kashmiri Pandit In Exile. Views Personel. Inputs From Innumerable Articles Penned On Kashmiri Exodus.

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Pakistan Unhappy With The Arrest, Expulsion Of ‘Spy Diplomats’ By India

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India recently expelled two officials of the Pakistan high commission after they were arrested by the security forces on charges of espionage, the Indian external affairs ministry said.

According to reports, three officials of the Pakistani mission were detained on Sunday while allegedly trying to obtain classified information on the Indian security establishment. The Indian move came as tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours are already high.

The three men initially reportedly insisted that they were Indians and even displayed fake Aadhar cards, the officials said. “Later, during interrogation, they admitted they were officials at the Pakistan high commission and worked for the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI),” according to reports in the Indian media.

A case was registered against them under the Official Secrets Act. Consequently, the government ordered the expulsion of Abid and Khan, who both work for the visa section at the Pakistani mission.

“The government has declared both these officials persona non grata for indulging in activities incompatible with their status as members of a diplomatic mission and asked them to leave the country within twenty-four hours,” read an official handout issued by the Indian foreign ministry, which also summoned the Pakistani chargé d’affaires on the issue.

But within hours of the Indian move, Pakistan reacted sharply and denounced the expulsion of its diplomats. “The Indian action has been accompanied by a negative pre-planned and orchestrated media campaign, which is a part of persistent anti-Pakistan propaganda,” said a foreign office statement.

The statement said the two staff members of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi were detained by the Indian authorities on “false and unsubstantiated charges.” They were, however, released on intervention by the High Commission.

“We condemn the detention and torture as well as threatening and pressuring of the diplomatic officials to accept false charges,” said Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui. She said Pakistan strongly rejected the baseless Indian allegations and condemned the Indian action calling it a violation of the Vienna Convention.

“The High Commission for Pakistan in New Delhi has always worked within the parameters of international law and diplomatic norms. The Indian action is clearly aimed at shrinking diplomatic space for the working of Pakistan High Commission,” she added.

Later, Indian Charge d’Affaires was summoned to the Foreign Office for a demarche over declaring two officials of Pakistan High Commission persona non grata.

“The Indian Charge d’Affaires was summoned to the Foreign Office for a strong demarche, conveying Pakistan’s condemnation of the Indian decision to declare two officials of the High Commission for Pakistan in New Delhi persona non grata and rejection of all baseless Indian allegations against the High Commission officials,” a Foreign Office statement stated.

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Featured

Pakistan Unhappy Over The Arrest, Expulsion Of ‘Spy Diplomats’ By India

Published

on

India recently expelled two officials of the Pakistan high commission after they were arrested by the security forces on charges of espionage, the Indian external affairs ministry said.

According to reports, three officials of the Pakistani mission were detained on Sunday while allegedly trying to obtain classified information on the Indian security establishment. The Indian move came as tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours are already high.

The three men initially reportedly insisted that they were Indians and even displayed fake Aadhar cards, the officials said. “Later, during interrogation, they admitted they were officials at the Pakistan high commission and worked for the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI),” according to reports in the Indian media.

A case was registered against them under the Official Secrets Act. Consequently, the government ordered the expulsion of Abid and Khan, who both work for the visa section at the Pakistani mission.

“The government has declared both these officials persona non grata for indulging in activities incompatible with their status as members of a diplomatic mission and asked them to leave the country within twenty-four hours,” read an official handout issued by the Indian foreign ministry, which also summoned the Pakistani chargé d’affaires on the issue.

But within hours of the Indian move, Pakistan reacted sharply and denounced the expulsion of its diplomats. “The Indian action has been accompanied by a negative pre-planned and orchestrated media campaign, which is a part of persistent anti-Pakistan propaganda,” said a foreign office statement.

The statement said the two staff members of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi were detained by the Indian authorities on “false and unsubstantiated charges.” They were, however, released on intervention by the High Commission.

“We condemn the detention and torture as well as threatening and pressuring of the diplomatic officials to accept false charges,” said Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui. She said Pakistan strongly rejected the baseless Indian allegations and condemned the Indian action calling it a violation of the Vienna Convention.

“The High Commission for Pakistan in New Delhi has always worked within the parameters of international law and diplomatic norms. The Indian action is clearly aimed at shrinking diplomatic space for the working of Pakistan High Commission,” she added.

Later, Indian Charge d’Affaires was summoned to the Foreign Office for a demarche over declaring two officials of Pakistan High Commission persona non grata.

“The Indian Charge d’Affaires was summoned to the Foreign Office for a strong demarche, conveying Pakistan’s condemnation of the Indian decision to declare two officials of the High Commission for Pakistan in New Delhi persona non grata and rejection of all baseless Indian allegations against the High Commission officials,” a Foreign Office statement stated.

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China Warns India Of Economical Repercussions If It Supports The US In Cold War Against China

China’s aim of upholding friendly ties with India hasn’t changed, so Beijing will still provide assistance to India by boosting bilateral partnership to help its economic recovery and expanding bilateral trade ties.

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As US-China tensions intensify, Chinese state media – Global Times writes that many experts are predicting that both nations are set to enter a Cold War and advises India to stay away from US-China rivalry.

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GT writes – with sentiment building in India, many experts have urged New Delhi to join the new Cold War and utilise the situation. Such senseless opinions are nothing but ridiculous and should not influence the Indian government’s position.

GT claims that India has little to gain from interfering in US-China dispute and Modi government needs to face the new geopolitical development objectively and reasonably. India needs to be cautious not to include the US factor in its approach with China.

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The same holds true in China-India border conflict and the offer of US arbitration is worthless as both China and India have the ability to resolve their problems bilaterally.

In a possible US-China Cold War, India must not favour the US or becomes a US pawn against China as it would deteriorate economic ties between both the nations and the Indian economy may not be able to take ‘financial hit’ at such time, GT cautions.

India-China Border Dispute: Indian Defence Minister, Experts Explain Chinese Border Incursions

China’s aim of upholding friendly ties with India hasn’t changed, so Beijing will still provide assistance to India by boosting bilateral partnership to help its economic recovery and expanding bilateral trade ties.

GT warns that China doesn’t want to see a situation where politics leads to financial consequences, so Modi government is encouraged to view the India-China ties with the practical mindset instead of being lured by nationalist sentiment.

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