Jammu High Court injunction on release of the film The Kashmir Files

A district court in Jammu issued an injunction on the release of The Kashmir Files, unless certain scenes revolving around the martyrdom of a late Indian Air Force officer are deleted or amended

Jammu High Court injunction on release of the film The Kashmir Files

Gautam S Mengle

A district court in Jammu on Thursday issued an injunction on the release of filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri’s upcoming movie The Kashmir Files, unless certain scenes revolving around the martyrdom of a late Indian Air Force officer are deleted or amended.

The order, a copy of which is available with National Herald, was issued after the late Squadron Leader Ravi Khanna’s wife Shalini Khanna approached the court earlier this month.

The late Sqn Ldr Khanna was killed by militant Yasin Malik on 25th January 1990 and after tireless and unrelenting efforts on part of his family, which spanned for 30 years, the Government of India finally honoured him by inscribing his name on the National War Memorial in April, 2020. Even as the family was recovering from the long battle, they had another shock in store for them.

On March 4, Ms Khanna was invited to a screening of The Kashmir Files, and was stunned to see that the scene showing her husband’s martyrdom was completely fictionalised.

“The scene shows my father dying in a random shooting while distributing toffees, while in reality, he fought the militants despite being unarmed and saved his colleagues who were with him,” Ms Khanna’s daughter Parul said.

Ms Khanna added that her martyred husband took 27 bullets from the guns of the militants before succumbing to his injuries.

“Not only does it hurt my sentiments and reopen my old wounds, but also amounts to an ugly blow to the Government and the Indian Air Force, who have acknowledged the late Sqn Ldr Ravi Khanna's sacrifice for the nation. I understand that creative minds of entertainment industry wish to present atrocities meted out to Kashmiri Pandits and Indian Armed Forces Personnel and their families by terrorists in Kashmir. However, they have failed to carry out due diligence in finding out the actual facts related to my husband’s killing by Yasin Malik,” Ms Khanna said.

Ms Khanna first brought this to the notice of Agnihotri and producer Abhishek Aggarwal, but did not receive any favourable response from them. She then immediately filed a case before the Jammu District Court, naming both Agnihotri and Aggarwal as defendants.

On Thursday, Additional District Judge Deepak Sethi ruled in her favour.

“Given the facts as stated in the plaint, the defendants are restrained by way of temporary injunction from showing the scenes depicting the acts pertaining to the husband of the plaintiff in the movie The Kashmir Files to be released on 11th of March, 2022,” the order states.

The Judge also observed in his order, “I am of the view that if no relief is granted to the applicant/plaintiff without serving prior notice of the application on the non-applicant/defendants, the suit of the plaintiff will become infructuous and hence would be defeated by delay.”

Welcoming the court’s decision, Ms Khanna said, “I would like to know if the makers have sought permission from Indian Air Force before including my husband's scene in the film. If not, how could they include a martyr's scene in the movie without carrying out due diligence to find out actual facts from me or the IAF?”

The Bombay High Court had recently dismissed a Public Interest Litigation against the release of the same movie, on the grounds that it hurt the sentiments of the Muslim community.

Advocate Himanshu Beotra, who appeared for Ms Khanna, said that the Bombay HC order would not affect the Jammu District Court’s order, as the grounds for both the cases were different.

“In fact, we are fully in support of the plight of Kashmiri Pandits being presented to the world, but not if it misrepresents facts of Sqn Lrd Khanna’s martyrdom. Our objection is only on this section of the movie,” Adv Beotra said.

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