Calls to halt new Bollywood film ‘The Kerala Story’ allegedly portraying Kerala as a “terrorist state” – UKMALAYALEE
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Calls to halt new Bollywood film ‘The Kerala Story’ allegedly portraying Kerala as a “terrorist state”

Thursday 10 November 2022 7:51 AM UTC

NEW DELHI Nov 10: Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has directed the state’s police to investigate a complaint against an upcoming contentious Bollywood film for allegedly portraying Kerala as a “terrorist state”.

Police in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram district are investigating allegations of misinformation and spreading of communal hatred and the trailer is being investigated. International newspapers such as The Independent and The Guardian too have reported on this matter.

The teaser of The Kerala Story released earlier this month claims that nearly 32,000 women from the southern state of Kerala, now run by the communist party, converted to Islam and joined the Islamic State in the last decade.

It was Aravindakshan BR, a Tamil Nadu-based journalist, who wrote to the federal ministry and India’s film certification board chairperson Prasoon Joshi to place a ban on the film unless the makers provide evidence against their claim.

The film is directed by Sudipto Sen and produced by Vipul Amrutlal Shah. In the teaser, actor Adah Sharma can be seen wearing a niqab and standing in front of barbwires with a snow-clad mountain in the background.

The actor introduces herself as Shalini Unnikrishnan, who wanted to become a nurse and serve humanity, but converted to Islam and became a terrorist. The character says she eventually landed in jail in Afghanistan, adding that a “dangerous game” of religious conversion is being openly played in Kerala.

Accoridng to the teaser, the makers, without providing evidence, claimed that the film is based on real-life events and there have been 32,000 conversions – all women – who are “buried in deserts of Syria and Yemen”.

In his petition to the Kerala chief minister, Aravindakshan said that, “if the movie The Kerala Story is released in theatres or OTT platform with false information, it will have bad consequences in society.”

“This film is against the unity and sovereignty of India and tarnishes the credibility of all intelligence agencies of India. Therefore, the Kerala police should call Sudipto Sen… and investigate the reports of which Indian intelligence agency the film was based on.”

The film appears to have been based on the four Kerala women, who accompanied their husbands to join the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (Isis-K) but are now lodged in an Afghanistan prison. The women had reportedly travelled to Nangarhar in Afghanistan in the years 2016-18.

However, there is no official or confirmed report that suggests 32,000 women from the Indian state converted to Islam and joined the terrorist organisation.

VD Satheesan, the state assembly opposition leader, said the film was “a clear case of misinformation” and called for it to be banned over the risk of “spreading hatred”.

The film’s events appear to be inspired by four women from Kerala who converted to Islam and travelled with their husbands to Afghanistan to join IS in Khorasan province between 2016 and 2018. Their husbands were all killed and after surrendering in 2019; the four women are all still in Afghan jails, with the Indian government refusing to take them back.

There is no evidence that there were thousands of such cases in Kerala as the film alleges.

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