The Kashmir Files movie banned in Singapore over potential to cause enmity, disrupt harmony

The Kashmir Files has been banned in Singapore as it could potentially cause enmity between different communities. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM ZEE STUDIOS/YOUTUBE

SINGAPORE - A controversial Hindi-language movie released in India in March has been banned in Singapore as it could potentially cause enmity between different communities and disrupt religious harmony here.

The Infocomm Media Development Authority, which classifies films, said it had assessed The Kashmir Files in consultation with the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and the Ministry of Home Affairs, and found it to be beyond its film classification guidelines.

"The film will be refused classification for its provocative and one-sided portrayal of Muslims and the depictions of Hindus being persecuted in the on-going conflict in Kashmir," the agencies told The Straits Times in a joint statement.

"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," they said.

Under the Film Classification Guidelines, any material that is denigrating to racial or religious communities in Singapore will be refused classification, they added.

Films that are refused classification in Singapore are effectively banned and cannot be legally sold, rented, possessed, imported or made public in the country.

The Kashmir Files depicts the exodus of Hindus from Muslim-majority Kashmir in the 1990s, and its plot follows the fictional story of a university student who discovers his parents were killed by militants.

The movie, directed by veteran Indian director Vivek Agnihotri, has become one of India's top box-office earners this year, and drawn endorsements from Indian government leaders.

It has also sparked controversy.

Its supporters say it sheds light on an often overlooked chapter of the history of Kashmir, which both India and Pakistan claim in full, but have controlled only parts of since Partition in 1947.

Critics of the movie say it is loose with the facts and fans anti-Muslim sentiment.

Media reports have cited Hindu hardliners in India using the film to stir up hatred against the country's minority Muslims.

The film has drawn adult classifications in Australia and New Zealand due to its depiction of strong violence, and in the case of New Zealand, had its age advisory rating raised from 16 to 18 after the Muslim community there raised concerns that the film could fuel Islamophobia.

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