The aftereffects of a propaganda movie like ‘The Kerala Story’ can create ripples in a relatively peaceful society. That is exactly what is happening around us. On Tuesday, we did a report documenting how watching the movie had led to spurts of communal incidents in various parts of the country. We have found some more incidents which can be called a domino effect of the movie. Many of these incidents are now directly linked to the movie thus debunking all views that this is not a propaganda movie but a mere retelling of a few true stories of Kerala.
At the Kollur Mookambika temple located in Byndoor Taluk of Udupi District of Karnataka, a large banner was put up inviting all Malayalee devotees to watch the movie. This was reported on Tuesday. It read, “If you want your generations also to be devotees of Maa Mookambika please watch ‘The Kerala Story’”. This banner was allegedly put up by members of Karnataka’s infamous right wing group, the ‘Hindu Jagran Vedike’,
— Hate Detector 🔍 (@HateDetectors) May 16, 2023
Another video surfaced on Tuesday showing Hindu Yuva Vahini in a cinema hall showcasing ‘The Kerala Story’ with a banner saying that the group was taking women to watch the movie in Rajasthan. Sadhvi Prachi, a known hate monger, was heard addressing the female audience and said, “Beware girls. Now they are just 32%. The situation is so bad that they don’t let Ram Navami processions happen. If they grow beyond 40% (in population), it will become difficult for our (Hindu) daughters to roam on the streets. This is what the movie is showing. You know the situation of Kashmir, there were 5 lakh Hindus. They were the reason (that Hindus had to leave). Tell your neighbours as well about this.”
— HindutvaWatch (@HindutvaWatchIn) May 16, 2023
At Ichalkaranji, near Kolhapur, a video was reported on Tuesday showing an entire movie hall filled with patrons, both male and female, being administered an oath by a woman standing near the screen. The oath said. “I vow that till my last breath I will follow Sanatan Dharm and will expose the conspiracy behind religious conversion. I will protect my mother, sisters and friends. Jai Shree Ram.”
Hindu women and girls take an oath in theatre before watching Kerala Story movie – that they will fight against Love jihad and Islam fundamentalist till the last day of their lives.
At Ichalkaranji near Kolhapur. pic.twitter.com/n4siB3SjCw
— दीपक प्रभु/DeepakPrabhu (@ragiing_bull) May 16, 2023
There were reports from Jammu that in the Government Medical College, some Muslim students were beaten over an altercation over ‘The Kerala Story’. The students have claimed that the administration has “taken selective action” by rusticating those students who were beaten up, reported The Quint. The scuffle broke out on Sunday where at least 5 students were injured. When the publication spoke to some students they were told that the arguments started when someone shared on an “official” WhatsApp group which was created for sharing study material only, a link of the movie saying “A Must Watch for Woke People”.
Two videos came from Rajasthan today, May 17. One from Vidyadhar and another from Jaipur. In one of the cinema halls in Jaipur, after the screening of the movie, members of Hindu far-right groups raised slogans like ‘Love jihad murdabad’, ‘Jai Shree Ram’
Location: Jaipur, Rajasthan
During The Kerala Story screening, members of Hindu far-right groups raise hateful slogans.
“If you want to live in India, then you must chant ‘Jai Shri Ram.’” pic.twitter.com/W9zCTVVjlV
— HindutvaWatch (@HindutvaWatchIn) May 17, 2023
In Vidyadhar Nagar, after the screening of the movie some unknown right wing leader addressed the audience and said, “It might look like a movie but it’s a reality of our society. It is a trailer of a movement, a conspiracy in our society. If it were just a movie then VHP would not have insisted that women watch this movie. This is a reality which needs to be shown to the society. The film makers are receiving threats because the movie awakens society and women. That is why they are being threatened.”
Here are some more extracts of his speech:
“They have done their work. The ball is now in our court.”
“These Muslims are still around us. These girls are somewhere around us.”
“Girls say we want freedom and they are separated from their culture. Parents want girls to study in English schools and they are distanced from their culture. They fall in love with boys. Parents bring up their daughter but then she walks away with someone else. We need to cure this by watching this movie. We need to ensure that more and more people need to watch this movie. We need to spread the word about love jihad. It is happening around us. It is possible that he is around us with a Hindu name. so beware. I request you to say that the movie is a reality. People need to be awakened.”
The oath administered said, “After today, I will spread the word about love jihad and whenever I get the opportunity to work for the country and my religion, I will do it on priority”. The entire audience in the movie hall repeated this oath.
Location: Vidyadhar Nagar, Rajasthan
Hindu far-right groups are using The Kerala Story screenings to create hysteria against Muslims. Here a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) first delivered a speech and then administered an oath to fight the conspiracy theory of “love jihad.” pic.twitter.com/gB2OKTJDyG
— HindutvaWatch (@HindutvaWatchIn) May 17, 2023
Clearly, the release of the film, like another one released 13 months ago, The Kashmir Files, is intended, not so much to raise consciousness on mass migration of minorities or terrorism but, instead paint all perpetrated social ills and wrongdoing with the Islamic (read Muslim) brush. That both visual cinematic efforts have been also openly lauded and backed by none less than prime minister Modi and several BJP governments has accorded them tax-free status adds another layer, state sanction to this stigmatisation and hate.
It also signals a clear deterioration of India to partisan governance.