- Singapore decided to ban ‘The Kashmir Files’ as it did not stand the scrutiny of their regulators
- Shashi Tharoor made a tweet in this regard which later snowballed into a huge controversy
- Anybody in the right sense of mind would never support Singapore’s censorship regime
If there is any artwork, which has hounded liberals in recent years, then it is ‘The Kashmir Files’. They have left no stone unturned in denigrating the larger message sent through the movie. Singapore banning the movie has given them one more opportunity to further their agenda.
Singapore bans ‘The Kashmir Files’
Singapore has prohibited its citizens from watching Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri’s movie ‘The Kashmir Files’. In a joint statement released by Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the Film has been termed as ‘beyond’ the film classification guidelines.
According to Singaporean authorities, the movie shows a one-sided portrayal of Muslims. The island city-state believes that the movie could cause social disharmony in society. “The film will be refused classification for its provocative and one-sided portrayal of Muslims and the depictions of Hindus being persecuted in the ongoing conflict in Kashmir. These representations have the potential to cause enmity between different communities and disrupt social cohesion and religious harmony in our multiracial and multi-religious society.”, read the statement by government.
Meanwhile, Shashi Tharoor decided to share the news about the ban with his followers. Sharing a screenshot of a report about the ban, Tharoor wrote on Twitter, “Film promoted by India’s ruling party, #KashmirFiles, (The Kashmir Files) banned in Singapore”. It is pertinent to note that Tharoor did not even take note of the fact that the source he used had referred to Kashmir as a ‘disputed region’ and not an Indian territory.
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) May 10, 2022
Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri takes Tharoor on
Meanwhile, Tharoor’s support for the censorship did not go down well with Vivek Agnihotri, the maker of the movie in question. He gave a factual rebuttal to Tharoor and used sophisticated language (something which Tharoor is infamous for) to call him a fool. He posted a long list of movies banned in Singapore to prove that censorship in the minnow nation is one of the worst in the world. According to Vivek’s understanding of Singapore’s censorship regime, even a romantic movie can be banned in Singapore.
Dear fopdoodle, gnashnab @ShashiTharoor,
FYI, Singapore is most regressive censor in the world. It even banned The Last Temptations of Jesus Christ (ask your madam)
Even a romantic film called #TheLeelaHotelFiles will be banned.
— Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri (@vivekagnihotri) May 10, 2022
Vivek shared another screenshot of Tharoor’s former wife Late Sunanda Pushkar in which she expressed her disappointment over the fact that she is not allowed by people in the power to speak for her own community. Apparently, whenever she tried to raise her voice, her husband (Tharoor) was ordered to ‘control’ her.
Sharing the screenshot, Vivek wrote, “Is this true that Late Sunanda Pushkar was a Kashmiri Hindu? Is the enclosed SS true? If yes, then in Hindu tradition, to respect the dead, you must delete your tweet and apologise to her soul.”
Is this true that Late Sunanda Pushkar was a Kashmiri Hindu?
Is the enclosed SS true?
— Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri (@vivekagnihotri) May 10, 2022
Anupam Kher and other netizens mock Shashi
Later, Anupam Kher also came forward to criticise Tharoor’s stand. He asked for some sympathy for Kashmiri Hindus. Kher seemed so saddened by Tharoor’s attitude that he had to remind Shashi that his former wife was a Kashmiri Hindu.
Dear @ShashiTharoor! Your callousness towards #KashmiriHindus genocide is tragic.If nothing else at least for #Sunanda’s sake who was a Kashmiri herself you should show some sensitivity towards #KashmiriPandits & not feel victorious about a country banning #TheKashmirFiles! 💔 https://t.co/YwEsgYWgc4 pic.twitter.com/b7XRL46tIG
— Anupam Kher (@AnupamPKher) May 10, 2022
Various other netizens also took Tharoor to the cleaners.
— Dr. Jai Tharur (@JaiTharur) May 10, 2022
Funny how Shashi Tharoor (and alikes) celebrates & cribs about #Censorship per convenience (not by logic of it)
Same is their take on 'Freedom of expression'. https://t.co/vaq62uiqj2
— Isha SG (@IshaSG) May 10, 2022
Singapore’s Censorship regime should not be supported by anyone
What Vivek pointed out about censorship in Singapore was absolute truth. The guidelines in Singapore refuse classification to ‘any material that is denigrating to racial or religious communities in Singapore’. Though the wording looks simple, lawyers will tell you that these kinds of phrases are academically designed to suppress any discussion about an issue which authorities do not like.
So, going by the phrase ‘any material that is denigrating to racial or religious communities in Singapore’, it simply means that virtually nothing bad about any religion or race can be shown on screen. Basically, if followers of one religion have carried out systematic genocide of the followers of another religion, then according to the guidelines, even that cannot be shown on screen. So, even if 15.6 percent of Islamic population of Singapore starts shouting ‘Raliv Galiv ya Chaliv’, Singaporean authorities won’t allow the movie makers to portray it on screen in upcoming years and future generations won’t be aware of the atrocities faced by their forefathers.
Truth is the ultimate sufferer. If you refuse to portray absolute truth on the screen, then you are just postponing a civil war, instead of avoiding it. Long-term peace can only be achieved through truth and reconciliation among communities about it. Anybody or any political party standing against this idea is not a friend of peace, and certainly not of Democracy.