A portion of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s March 24 address during the recent budget session where he referred to the controversial film ‘The Kashmir Files’ has lately made headlines. In the clip, CM Kejriwal can be heard saying, “They are saying make The Kashmir Files tax-free. Well, put it on YouTube and it shall be free.” It is noteworthy that the film has been made tax-free in most BJP-ruled states, including Uttar Pradesh, Tripura, Goa, Haryana, Gujarat, and Uttarakhand.

In the backdrop of this, several BJP members have targeted CM Kejriwal, claiming that he denied atrocities faced by Kashmiri Hindus.

BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya shared a 15-second clip. In the first eight seconds, we see AAP members laughing, following which Kejriwal says, “Won’t even install posters of films based on lies…” Malviya claimed that the Delhi CM denied the atrocities faced by Kashmiri Pandits by terming ‘The Kashmiri Files’ a lie.

BJP leader Kapil Mishra and Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga posted a screengrab from CM Kejriwal’s address along with images of injured children. Mishra tweeted, “Calling the massacre of Kashmiri Hindus false is equivalent to questioning your mother’s character. Shame on you Kejriwal. Kejriwal has abused every martyr and army personnel of the country by defending terrorists.” (Archived tweet)

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BJP spokesperson Gaurav Goel tweeted, “Stop making fun of Kashmiri Pandit, Kejriwal. Have some shame.” (Archived tweet)

Amish Devgan, managing editor of News18 Hindi, also inferred that terming ‘The Kashmir Files’ fake meant denying the atrocities faced by Kashmiri Pandits. His tweet gained over 12,000 likes as of this writing. (Archived tweet)

Clipped video, misleading context

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s full video is available on AAP’s YouTube channel. In the 20-minute address, he speaks about the upcoming Delhi Municipal Corporation election. Nowhere in the video Kejriwal has refuted the 1990 Kashmir violence.

It must be noted that both Amit Malviya and Kapil Mishra have misrepresented his speech to make it appear that Kejriwal and AAP members mocked the plight of Kashmiri Pandits.

Amit Malviya’s clip

Alt News viewed the 15-second clip uploaded by Malviya and noticed that it has two jump cuts at 00:03 and 00:08 second marks. This itself shows that the video is doctored.

After the 8-second mark, CM Kejriwal says, “Won’t even install posters of films based on lies…” The first eight seconds of the clip have been extracted from 15:43 to 15:45 and 15:52 to 15:57. This was when Kejriwal took a jibe at the BJP.

From 16:00, Kejriwal can be heard saying, “You [BJP members] will… [chuckles] You will get respect [if you join the AAP]. You will not be made to raise false slogans. We will include you in the nation’s development… we’ll build the nation with you…Won’t make you install these posters of films based on lies.

Another bout of laughter broke out at the 16:22 mark when he said, “Do what you want but at least stop promoting a film. You look bad. It doesn’t suit you, you are nice people. You had joined politics to do something significant, but now you are busy promoting films.”

Kapil Mishra’s image

Mishra’s screenshot from the speech has a watermark of the Twitter handle @BiharKaLall. The same image was earlier posted by this handle. This screenshot has been taken from the 8:56 mark in the video. This was when CM Kejriwal said, “They [BJP] say we are the world’s largest party. We [AAP] are the world’s smallest party and yet you [BJP] got scared.” He neither refers to Kashmiri Pandits nor denies their oppression.

To sum it up, several BJP members have falsely shared sections of CM Kejriwal’s speech in Delhi Assembly during the budget session. In the video, Kejriwal criticised the film ‘The Kashmir Files’ for being based on falsehoods. However, no part of his speech can be interpreted as him denying the atrocities faced by Kashmiri Pandits.

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About the Author

He joined as an intern in 2019. Until June 2022, his work primarily focused on fact-checking. Now his primary responsibilities include catalysing all aspects of organisational growth — from fundraising to development of new projects at Alt News. He attended the Asian College of Journalism (2015-16) and The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (2012-2015). In past, he worked at The Hindu and Zee Media's WION.
Tipline Bling: archit@altnews.in