Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Singapore bans hit Kashmir film over portrayal of Muslims

Singapore bans hit Kashmir film over portrayal of Muslims

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A worker cleans a display with the poster of the Bollywood movie 'The Kashmir Files', outside a cinema hall in New Delhi on April 7, 2022. AFP

Singapore bans hit Kashmir film over portrayal of Muslims

Singapore has banned a controversial Indian film over its “provocative and one-sided portrayal” of Muslims in Kashmir that officials fear could provoke religious and ethnic tensions in the city-state.

Released in March and one of India’s highest-grossing films this year, “The Kashmir Files” depicts in harrowing detail how several hundred thousand Hindus fled Muslim militants in Indian-administered Kashmir in 1989 and 1990.

The movie has been endorsed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and seized on by Hindu hardliners to stir up hatred against the country’s Muslim minority.

Critics say it tackles themes close to the political agenda of Modi’s Hindu nationalist government, which has often been accused of marginalising and vilifying Muslims.

The media regulator in Singapore refused to classify the film, meaning it cannot be screened.

The decision was due to the movie’s “provocative and one-sided portrayal of Muslims and the depictions of Hindus being persecuted”, officials said in a statement late Wednesday.

“These representations have the potential to cause enmity between different communities, and disrupt social cohesion and religious harmony in our multi-racial and multi-religious society.”

The city-state’s population of 5.5 million are mostly ethnic Chinese but it also has large communities of ethnic Malay Muslims and ethnic Indian Hindus.

The film’s director, Vivek Agnihotri, lashed out at the decision, tweeting that Singapore was the “most regressive censor in the world”.

The tightly-controlled country is sensitive to anything that could trigger ethnic and religious tensions.

It occasionally bans films and publications for fear of inflaming divisions, leading some to ridicule it as a nanny state.

The movie revolves around a university student who learns about the death of his parents in the 1990s in Muslim-majority Kashmir, a disputed region split between India and Pakistan since 1947.

Three decades of insurgency in the region – with Pakistan’s backing, according to New Delhi – and a heavy-handed response by the Indian military have killed tens of thousands of people, mostly Muslims.

Around 200,000 Kashmiri Hindus – known as Pandits – fled after the violence began in the late 1980s. Up to 219 may have been killed, according to official figures.

MOST VIEWED

  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior