Singapore has banned a controversial Indian film about the exodus of Hindus from Muslim-majority Kashmir, citing concerns over its “potential to cause enmity between different communities”.
“The Kashmir Files” has been praised by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his right-wing Hindu nationalist followers, and has proved a box office hit, but critics say it is loose with facts and fans anti-Muslim sentiment.
“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,” the Singapore government said in a statement on Monday in response to media queries.
“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 statement added.
Singapore’s 5.5 million population is made up mainly of ethnic Chinese, Malays and Indians. The Southeast Asian city-state has strict laws that punish any attempts to disrupt inter-racial and religious harmony.
Hundreds of thousands of people, many of them Hindus, fled from Kashmir after a violent uprising against Indian rule began in 1989.
Supporters of the 170-minute Hindi-language movie say it shines a light on an often overlooked chapter of Kashmir’s history while others see it as evidence of the growing religious polarisation Modi’s critics say he has fostered since coming to power in 2014.