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The Political Storm Surrounding ‘The Kerala Story’ Movie

The Political Storm Surrounding The Kerala Story Movie

The Kerala Story: A Controversial Film

The Kerala Story, a movie directed by Sudipto Sen, has caused a political controversy since the release of its first teaser. The movie, which stars Adah Sharma, Sonia Balani, Yogita Bihani, and Siddhi Idnani, follows the account of a group of women from Kerala who are converted to Islam through deceit and allegedly join the ISIS terrorist organization. The film’s claims have been labeled as “accusations of political agenda” by Kerala’s Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, and challenged by the Kerala State Committee of Muslim Youth League, who have announced a reward of Rs 1 crore to anyone who proves that the allegations shown in the movie are true.

Image showing Kerala's landscape and culture
Representative image showing Kerala’s landscape and culture

Allegations of Forced Conversion and Recruitment by ISIS

The movie claims to be based on real events with a caption saying “Uncovering the truth that was kept hidden”. However, according to some reports, the movie’s claims have scant evidence to back them up. The film’s most controversial claim is that approximately 32,000 girls have gone “missing” from Kerala, allegedly after being forcefully or deceitfully converted to Islam and then recruited by the Islamic State.

Concerns over Indian citizens joining ISIS

Several Indians have traveled to Iraq and Syria to fight alongside the IS and about 100 of them have been arrested by the agencies either on their return or while preparing to join the troops there. After being inspired by the IS, many have also been arrested for preparing to carry out an attack in India.

Image showing boat full of Indian recruits
Source: Indian Express

According to a US State Department report titled “Country Reports on Terrorism 2020: India,” “There were 66 known Indian-origin fighters affiliated with ISIS, as of November” (2020). According to intelligence agencies, within a small number of Indian recruits, individuals belonging to southern India comprise about 90%. The majority of India’s ISIS recruits came from Kerala.

Challenges to The Kerala Story’s Claims

The claims have been labeled as “Sanghi propaganda” and “false” by several individuals and organizations.

Shasi Tharoor tweeted:

The Director’s Claims and Lack of Evidence

The director, Sudipto Sen, claimed in an interview that in 2010, then-chief minister Oommen Chandy tabled a report on the floor of the Kerala Assembly, which said, “every year approximately 2800-3200 girls were being converted to Islam.” The director then claims that if you calculate this number for ten years, it gives you 32,000 to 33,000 girls, which is the number quoted in his film. Sen said that he has “the document” to prove his claim, but he has not publicly shared it. The Indian Express was not able to find any 2010 document that mentions the figures quoted by Sen.

The Kerala Story Movie Trailer

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is The Kerala Story movie about?

The Kerala Story is an Indian Hindi-language film that revolves around the issue of “Love Jihad,” where Hindu girls are allegedly recruited to the Islamic State through deceitful means.

Who are the lead roles in The Kerala Story?

The movie stars Adah Sharma, Yogita Bihani, and Siddhi Idnani in lead roles.

Who produced The Kerala Story?

The movie was produced by Vipul Amrutlal Shah and directed by Sudipto Sen.

When was The Kerala Story released?

The movie was released on Friday, May 5, 2023.

How has the movie performed at the box office?

The box office collection of The Kerala Story is not yet available.

What is the controversy surrounding the movie?

The movie has faced backlash from certain groups who claim that it promotes communal hatred and stereotypes a particular community.

Will the controversial claims made in “The Kerala Story” hold up to investigation? Stay tuned to find out.

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Gangtokian Web Team, 05/05/2023

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