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Exodus Day: Kashmiri Pandits commemorate the unfortunate event

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Jammu: 26 years after thousands of Kashmiri Pandits fled the Valley under terrorist threat, marking the day as Exodus Day; significant leaders from this migrant community visited the place on Tuesday, also paying homage to 24 people killed by terrorists in March 2003.

All Parties Migrants Coordination Committee(APMCC) sent a group of Pandit representatives to Visit the Nandimanrg village near Shopian. Also remembered as “Holocaust Day” by some, the group observed the day in the village.

Observed as the Exodus Day, 19th January was the date when in 1990 almost 3 to 4 lakhs Kashmiri Pandits had to flee from the valley as the pro-separatist militancy was at its peak and there were terrorist threat attacks. Even though the government both central and state, announced the packages for rehabilitation, not many Pandits returned to their native place out of the fear.

The group of nearly two dozen members was led by the party’s chairman Vinod Pandit, terming it the first visit by migrant community leaders to the Pandit settlement in Nadimarg by APMCC spokesperson King C Bharti. “The settlement now looks like a haunted place amid burnt and damaged houses,” Bharti said.

The chairman also laid the foundation of a memorial for the people killed by militants in the last 26 years across J&K. Visiting the village under tight security cover, Vinod Pandit also mentioned that names of all the victims, in both Jammu and Kashmir, will be engraved on it.

State government proposed an increased relief amount for the construction of the houses in the valley. The amount is proposed to be increased from 7.5 lakhs to 20 lakhs, the Centre is yet to give a nod to this proposal.

The visiting Pandits said they were prepared to return home, but want political, social and economic safeguards. The plight of the Kashmiri pandits is rarely discussed in the mainstream media of the country. Lakhs of people had to live like a refugee in their own country and it is a complete failure from the then Indian government and all those came in power later.

Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah recently made a statement, claiming no further progress has been made for the displaced Kashmiri Pandits, even after a year.

Abdullah further stated the current government’s inefficiency by paying only lip service and nothing. He tweeted a series of statement on this issue. On the other hand, his father and senior leader Farokh Abdullah made a controversial statement and said that no one will Kashmir Pandit to return.

Anupam Kher, a Kashmiri Pandit himself, has always been seen fighting for the rights of the Pandits and discussing the issue gravely on various platforms. He also tweeted about the matter:

There were protests from Panun Kashmir and All-State Kashmiri Pandit Conference outside Raj Bhavan to demand a judicial probe into the killing of Pandits in the Valley. (Inputs from Agencies) (picture courtesy: oneindia.com)

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Actor Anupam Kher Says That Cinema And Politics Cannot Be Separated

"The Accidental Prime Minister" is slated to release on January 11

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National Award winning actor Anupam Kher, who essays the character of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in “The Accidental Prime Minister”, says cinema and politics cannot be separated since one reflects the other.

The film, even before its release, has grabbed a lot of eyeballs and faced criticism for the projection of its central character and for being timed to hit the screens before the 2019 general elections.

Anupam told IANS: “Look, when the audience is going to the theatre to watch a film, they are regular cine-goers and movie lovers. They are not entering the hall as a voter.

“But yes, when they come out, the film might linger in their mind. But then, cinema and politics cannot be separated, because they are a reflection of each other.”

The actor further said: “A filmmaker or an artiste really cannot figure out why people are voting for a political party. Some voters are loyalists; some are making a list of good and bad to choose a party and the government. How much can a film could contribute to that?

“Having said that, I personally believe that when people go to vote for choosing a government, they do not decide anything based on the impact of a film.”

The movie is based on an eponymous book which was released during the 2014 elections when the political transformation happened and the nation voted the Bharatiya Janata Party government over the Congress-led UPA government.

Does the film intend to influence the voters to form an opinion on the Congress party by showing Singh in a critical light?

“It is ridiculous to say that people choose a political party and a change happened in the government because of Sanjay Baru’s book! Similarly, it would be silly to say that this film will change the result of the election this year,” replied the 63-year-old actor.

Anupam Kher
Cinema, politics can’t be separated: Anupam Kher, flickr

Directed by Vijay Ratnakar Gutte, the film also features Akshaye Khanna, Aahana Kumra and Arjun Mathur.

The book gives an insight of the Prime Minister Office (PMO) as well as the personal journey of Singh. And the film’s trailer gives a glimpse how the narrative will emphasise on the contradiction and difference of opinion between the PM and the Congress Party, especially its then president Sonia Gandhi.

In fact, such elements in the book also received some criticism in 2014.

Asked if highlighting on the conflict between the former PM and Congress party president is the core content of the film, Anupam said: “No, no, the story is a very humane tale of a man, who was born into a middle-class family and with his merit, he excelled and became a Prime Minister.

“He is a man with all heart, a true patriot, well read, humble man who went through a huge struggle and felt vulnerable as a Prime Minister of the country.”

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Commenting on the party president and PM conflict, the actor added: “It was never a secret. It was rather an open secret that has come out. It was there in the book as well!

“Everyone knew that he was chosen to become a Prime Minister by the Congress party and he was the least expected candidate. Our film is shown from the point of view of a media advisor in the PMO.

“It would be appreciated if audiences watch the film, as a story.”

“The Accidental Prime Minister” is slated to release on January 11. (IANS)