NZ to review ‘The Kashmir Files’ after community concerns

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It has been reported that New Zealand’s censor board has put the release of Hindi film The Kashmir Files on hold after concerns were raised by members of the Muslim community.

Members of the community felt that the film’s content could incite anti-Muslim sentiment, which led to the NZ’s chief censor reviewing the film’s R16 classification.

The Bollywood film about the exodus of Hindus from Kashmir in the 1990s was due to be released in New Zealand on March 24 with an R16 certificate (allowing anyone over the age of 16 to view it).

New Zealand’s chief censor David Shanks told Stuff that members of the Muslim community had approached him with concerns that The Kashmir Files “could raise anti-Muslim sentiment and potential hatred”.

He said that it was a “complex situation” as the concerns focused on behaviors on and offline in relation to the film, rather than the content of the film itself, Stuff reported.

This comes after multiple reports of people in cinemas in India shouting hate slogans and calling for violence against Muslims.

 Shanks said the concerns raised were valid and serious, so it was important to “take stock and pause”.

However, he mentioned that “this isn’t a case of banning the film”.

Indian community leader Veer Khar from Auckland is one of the few Pandits who survived the attacks, she spoke to the NZ news website.

“We’re saying look what happened, just hear our truth, this movie is telling what happened.

“The film is not about a religious issue, terrorists did it; these were not Muslims, but terrorists,” she told Stuff.

So far, The Kashmir Files has received polarising reviews, it is commended for highlighting the suffering of Hindus at the hands of extremists, and criticised for islamophobic undertones and provoking audiences against Muslims.

With its classification still under review, it is unclear whether the film will release this week.

In the UK and in Australia, The Kashmir Files has been classified as suitable for audiences 18 and above, while UAE, Qatar, and Singapore have banned its release.

Compiled from various reports

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