Gulf Today

EC moved against The Kerala Story telecast


TRIVANDRUM: Kerala’s Congress party-led opposition has approached Indian election authoritie­s against telecastin­g a controvers­ial film on Doordarsha­n ahead of the national elections.

Critics describe the film The Kerala Story as an atempt to divide people on religious lines.

The state-run national television network was to telecast the Hindi version of the film at 8 pm on Friday.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also issued a strong statement against what he described as “crated with the explicit purpose of fomenting hostility towards Kerala.”

VD Satheeshan, chairman of the Congressle­d United Democratic Front (UDF), urged Chief Election Commission­er Rajiv Kumar to stop the telecast.

The film is now available on the over-thetop streaming plaform ZEE5 in major Indian languages - Hindi, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam on demand.

The opposition sees it as an atempt by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalis­t Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to make electoral gains.

“Kerala Story is a propaganda film based on extremely false premises and atempts to paint a bleak picture of the people of the state,” the leter says.

“I believe this is part of Sangh Parivar’s (BJP and its ideologica­l cousins) poisonous agenda to divide the country along communal lines.”

He described it as part of its efforts to “further the electoral prospects of the ruling BJP” and a “direct insult to the people of Kerala.”

“It is also in violation of model poll conduct, which forbids any effort to divide society on religious lines,” he says.

West Bengal was the only state to ban the screening of the film released in May last year, which the Supreme Court lited. It also triggered protests in many states.

Following widespread criticism, the film’s promoters dropped its claim of forced conversion­s of 32,000 women from other faiths and recruited to Daesh.

India’s censor board also made several cuts in the film, including former chief minister VS Achuthanan­dan’s statement about atempts at such massive conversion­s.

BJP had defended the film saying it depicted the real plight of “victims” a derogatory term they use to describe interfaith marriages involving Muslim men.

Addressing an election rally in Karnataka, Modi said the Congress, which is engaged in a close fight with his party, was “opposing the film made on terrorism.”

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