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Justice For All Statement and Analysis on the Release of “The Kerala Story”
India’s film industry or Bollywood is becoming notorious for inciting hate against Muslims by producing films that stereotype and depict Muslims as dangerous and as threats to India’s national security. It has clearly become lucrative for the film industry to boost Hindu nationalism by reinforcing the ruling BJP party’s narrative that Muslims are a threat to Hindus. A recent box office movie, The Kashmir Files, enjoyed immense popularity amongst Hindutva fans. A large number of film critics, Kashmiri Muslims and others, have described it as propaganda that inflames hatred against Muslims and distorts events to suit the ruling party’s Islamophobic agenda. The movie falsely depicts Kashmiri Muslims as complicit in an ill-perceived unproven genocide of the region’s Hindu Pandits. After viewing the movie Hindutva fans chanted anti Muslim slogans and promised to wreak vengeance against India’s Muslims.
A few days ago a movie titled The Kerala Story was released. The plot follows the story of a group of women from Kerala who were “forcibly converted” to Islam and joined ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). The movie is fictitious but the filmmakers falsely claim otherwise. The Youtube trailer initially claimed there were 32,000 women from Kerala who were inducted into ISIS and subsequently altered the number to just 3 women, which is evidence enough that there has never been a mass induction of young women from Kerala into ISIS.
The state of Kerala has always rejected Prime Minister Modi’s party’s divisive politics and has instead encouraged inter-religious harmony. Justice for All is deeply concerned that this movie will undermine the tolerance and harmony that exists between Muslims and Hindus in Kerala.
Justice For All strongly opposes the storyline used in The Kerala Story. Films such as The Kashmir Files and The Kerala Story will only further sow discord between Muslims and Hindus in India. Prime Minister Modi’s supporting statements on the film provide a strong indication that his party stands to benefit from its false storyline.
Below is Justice For All’s short analysis of the timing of the release and the storyline.
The Kerala Story – A misguided, desperate storyteller resorts to striking chords of disharmony
After the box-office success of the Kashmir Files movie, film producers have realized that a quick way to make money is to buy into the disinformation, Islamophobic, majoritarian agenda of the Indian government under Prime Minister Modi. The Kerala Story, is another misinformation spreading Islamophobic propaganda which will only serve to rally the masses behind the RSS-BJP regime of India. Storytellers seem to be partnering to ignite multiple fires in an already dis-harmonized India. The Kerala Story is false at its roots, but is being presented as fact. Film writers and producers are joining forces to unveil the dark side of storytelling as never before.
The Kerala Story is about a group of women who were forced to covert to Islam and join ISIS. It spreads the perception that Hindu and Christian women who are reported missing from Kerala in the past decade, have joined ISIS and are working as terrorists to harm India, their own country.
This movie directed by Sudipto Sen and produced by Vipul Amrutlal Shah is not based on real-life incidents and does have any factual statistical data to back up the story. The movie is based around the lead character, a Muslim nurse as one of 32,000 women who are missing from Kerala Muslim and Christian communities. The movie depicts these women as joining ISIS. The storyline is disputed by all major newspapers and media sources in India. Sen says that evidence will be provided, but none exists.
The Indian fact-checking news website Alt News reported that there was no evidence to back the claim. The Indian Government also does not have any statistics to this extent. There have never been reports filed for such a large number of missing women with the Kerala police. In fact, the producer of the movie has now changed the preview of the movie to say that it is the story of only 3 girls, a far cry from the initially claimed 32,000. The Social Media posts that made the high claim will also be removed.
The region of Kerala has had a history of peaceful coexistence among the Muslims, Hindus, and Christians for decades. Kerala is known for its religious harmony. The RSS-BJP regime in India, under Modi, benefits politically from a large Hindu voter-base, and has openly used marginalization of minorities and polarization of India’s majority population against its Muslim minority.
Other, more secular minded political parties have objected to the release of this movie indicating that this is clearly the agenda of the BJP to defame Kerala, and to sow seeds of disharmony in the state. Congress party leader VD Satheesan objected strongly to the storyline calling it as an agenda of the Sangh Parivar. The Grand Mufti of India Kanthapuram, AP Aboobacker Musliyar in Kannur, has also spoken of the agenda of the producers to spread disharmony in the state. The Mufti hails from Kerala. There has been a call to ban the screening of the movie in the state. Modi has used parties calling for the ban in politically charged speeches, and his party has used the argument of legal jurisdiction against the ban.
It is a shame that Sudipto Sen and other film makers in India are using the RSS agenda to create movies meant to polarize the nation and pin Muslims against Hindus. Neither Vipul or Sen are recognized as among the better movie makers of India and making such polarizing films in todays India is likely to boost their career, raise the stature in RSS-BJP circles and provide for a handsome financial gain. In their quest for fame, they have sold themselves and become part of the RSS-BJP disharmony machinery. The Indian movie industry is following India’s news media in its tacit support of the RSS-BJP regime, and is closely reminiscent of the Nazi propaganda machinery. Just as Nazi Germany used all means of communication to create the hate leading to the holocaust, so is the current situation in India. That, included with the constant bombardment of hate-filled media “reports” are creating a situation that may prove disastrous for India’s Muslims & Christians.
What is instead needed in today’s India, are movies that motivate the community, unite religious groups and oppose the oppression of the minorities in the country. India’s movie going public, by and large, is not educated to be able to separate fact from fiction. They are easily swayed by emotion especially in the religiously charged climate. The claim that they have the right under their freedom of expression in a country such as India can have devastating effects on minorities. Kerala was a beacon of hope in a country burning under the divisive policies of the Modi government, and that was a thorn in the side of the RSS-BJP regime. This movie seeks to bring Kerala into the mainstream hate that is engulfing India today.
- RSS, or the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is the largest paramilitary organization in the world. Inspired by Germany’s Hitler and the Nazi ideology, it expounds Hindutva, an extreme interpretation of the peaceful religion of Hinduism. At the core it seeks to turn India into a Hindu nation.
- BJP, or the Bharatiya Janata Party is the political arm of the RSS, and the political party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
- The RSS has many offshoots, and they operate as loosely connected organizations collectively known as the Sangh Parivar.
- Exhibit of high claimed numbers being removed from social media accounts
 The Nazification of India report; https://justiceforall.org/indiannazis