Low-budget Indian Hindi film ‘The Kerala Story’, which is directed by Sudipto Sen is about how few females from Indian state of Kerala were coerced into joining Islamic State (ISIS). And it is a proven fact globally that many gullible people were coerced into joining ISIS from many countries, including from the Muslim community. The filmmakers claim the movie is based on years of research, but critics have panned it as “propaganda aimed to stoke religious disharmony and Islamophobia”.
Majority of Muslims stood and pointed out that ISIS does not represent Islam when this jihadist group was carrying out genocide on Yazidis. ‘The Kerala Story’ is pointing out how cunningly the ISIS recruited the gullible and used them towards jihadist notoriety. So, why are some calling it an anti-Muslim movie? This movie is about the ruthlessness of ISIS. If this notorious jihadist outfit does not represent Islam then why is this an issue?
Recently TIME magazine has published an article by Astha Rajvanshi on this film. In this article, Rajvanshi wrote:
”The Kerala Story had already created a furor months before its release when it screened a teaser in November 2022 claiming to reflect true “heart-breaking and gut-wrenching stories of 32,000 females” from Kerala who joined IS [ISIS].
“This claim has since been debunked by a few different outlets, including the fact-checking website Alt News, which published a detailed report that concluded that there was “no evidence” to back the number. According to the US State Department, “66 known Indian-origin fighters” were affiliated with the IS as of November 2020, while India’s National Investigation Agency said in September 2021 that it had arrested 168 people connected to 37 cases “of terror attacks, conspiracy, and funding” inspired by the IS.
Indian officials have also stated that four women from Kerala who had joined the IS were in jail in Afghanistan. One anonymous police official told the BBC that since 2016, no more than 10 to 15 women from Kerala have converted and left to join the IS.
“In response to the backlash, the filmmakers subsequently updated the film’s description on YouTube, calling it the “compilation of the true stories of three young girls from different parts of Kerala”.
“However, the film continues to face legal challenges and criticism. In Kerala, which has a population of 33 million—of which 27% are Muslim and 18% are Christian, according to the last census in 2011—politicians and leaders have alleged that the film is part of a larger campaign that’s trying to provoke religious and communal tensions in one of India’s most socially progressive states”.
‘The Kerala Story’ has already been a box office hit. According to the BBC, it earned more than 560 million Indian rupees (US$6.8 million) in five days, which one analyst called “a feat for any new release”, especially one with a small budget and lacking any star power. This success has flabbergasted mainstream movie critics who are branding it as propaganda stuff. One such critic wrote an article in The Hindu claiming that the film was “marred by half-truths and an emotionally exploitative gaze”.
The film has also sparked a range of reactions from Indian politicians. During an election rally in the state of Karnataka, Prime Narendra Modi praised the film for trying to “expose the consequences of terrorism in a society”. Other BJP leaders at the federal and state level have also backed the film, with two BJP-ruled states, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, making the film tax-free. The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, attended a special screening and told reporters the film “draws the attention of the entire nation” to “love jihad”, the conspiratorial idea that Muslim men lure Hindu women into converting to Islam.
But secularists and Muslims in India have accused the film of demonizing Islam encouraging Islamophobia.
In West Bengal, which is ruled by Trinamool Congress, a party known for its bias towards radical Islam and jihadism – Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has banned the screening of the film stating it “could be dangerous to peace and order”. In response, a federal minister from the Bharatiya Janata Party alleged that the West Bengal government’s sympathies lay with terror groups and not with “the victims of terrorism”.
TIME magazine in its article has tried to brand ‘The Kerala Story’ as a film that promoted “Hindu-nationalist agenda” in India. But people, including Muslims in India have different opinions. Some of them have criticized TIME for publishing an article that actually went in favor of radical Islam and jihad. Here are some of the comments from Indians in favor of the film:
Tabassum: ‘The Kerala Story’ is of world-wide significance and interest, and it should be shown all over the world, in different languages as well! The film producer can make a huge amount of money; and hopefully use that money to expose the real Islam all over the world!!
Charles Rubin: The low budget movie producer decided to bring the truth and expose the ugly face of secularism, which tends to abuse Hindus and protects minority Muslims. How Hindu girls are blackmailed and forced into accepting Islam. Similar problems exist in the other parts of the world, but the leaders choose to remain silent. A must watch movie by every individual.
Venkatesh: It is surprising that any exposure of Islamists misdeeds is reported as conspiracy. Let us consider Kashmiri Hindu Pandits genocide, beheading of an innocent tailor of Jaipur in broad light, burning of Hindus in a railway carriage in Gujarat, creating unnecessary Hijab controversy after adhering to school uniform for decades. Mis-representation of facts either by ignorance or design do not constitute good journalism.
Elizabeth: Here goes the western liberal media – BBC, Time, etc. The grooming gangs in the UK and elsewhere are real but The Kerala Story is conspiratorial. Much fewer cases in the United Kingdom is considered an epidemic. Wow! Latching on to the 32,000 number is lame. Even 1 such case, not 100, should be acted on with severity. What is happening in Kerala is much worse than the European grooming gangs. Radical Islam has to be eradicated. That can only happen with strong opposition by moderate Muslims. The world wonders how many of these moderates are really out there? In India, most Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, Christians, Parsis, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, etcetera are moderates. As to why so many Muslim moderates in India, it is a subject of research in Universities, for obvious reasons.
Having said that, it is incorrect to defame the beautiful and friendly state of Kerala. Over 99 percent of them are fun to be with. It is the 1 percent that rots the pond. I might have given the movie a different title, such as “Grooming Story”, although it would still be Kerala focused because of the import of the radical and political version of Islam into the state.
David: In Israel it is the Jew’s fault. In Africa it is the Christians. In the Philippines it is the Catholics at fault. In India it is the Hindus, and in Afghanistan it is the Sikhs and Shia Muslims. In Myanmar it is the Buddhists, while in China it is the Communists. Also, the women are causing natural disasters when they don’t wear their burkas. When you don’t get along with anybody, it is time for a little self-reflection to see what might be wrong with your own ideology.
Ravi: What does TIME article mean by conspiracy laden? How biased can you be? If terrorism has no religion, why are 3uslims against this movie?
Vishal: As usual Muslims in India always cry, when some criticism comes for their religion. Whole world knows ISIS was not recruiting only from India, they were recruiting from Europe and America too. I saw a similar movie in France, where some innocent Muslim girls joined ISIS and lost their citizenship. ISIS brainwashed many. ISIS leaders wanted to fulfil their sexual desire, so they forced any girls from any country. We are not blaming all Muslims; we are blaming ISIS.
It is also true that many Muslims in India are getting financial rewards for converting non-Muslim into Islam. I think the Indian government should ban religious conversion. We are living in the 21st century and still this old issue is coming up.
Richard: Another biased article by western media showing only one side. There are real people who came forward for many years, and many more after this movie sharing what happened who have suffered with forced and cheated conversions, only to hate non-Muslims and ignited hatred against Hindus. Plus engaging them in terrorist activities.
Nandini: Astha Rajvanshi, writer of the article, is an Indian “sepoy” trying to please her western liberal masters in the Leftist mag TIME by repeating the same old canards spread by the pseudo secular opposition parties.
The author deliberately suppressed some important news such as Former Kerala Chief Ministers like VA Achuthanandam (Communist Party) confirmed such incidents (trapping non-Muslim college girls) have happened in the past.
Here is a tweet from Sashi Tharoor, Kerala MP a few years back.
“I have been approached by Kerala mothers whose daughters are stuck in Afghanistan after having been taken there by their misguided husbands. I arranged a meeting w/ EAM Sushma Swaraj ji for a constituent to plead her case. Obviously, it’s as an MP that I’m aware of the situation”. [Are these “misguided husbands” Christians by any chance?].
This is not only in Kerala but also on the west coast of Karnataka, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Kolkata such incidents have happened. In many cases, the families of these “duped” girls are still searching for their missing daughters.
Archana: This film exposes the Islamist extremist hidden agenda and what really has happened not only in Kerala but all over India. The followers of the cult are not even ashamed at what they have been doing to girls of other religions. Say no to radical Islam. It only preaches violence and hatred towards non-Muslims.
Jimmy: What is the conspiracy in the movie? This movie is very simple and fact oriented. I don’t find any hate against Muslims. Is showing the cruelty of ISIS a conspiracy? Anyone who doesn’t believe in Love Jihad in India is surely extremist.
Parineeta: By the way how much did the Jihadis pay this two-rupees-writer, Astha Rajvanshi, to write negativity on Sanatani Hindus and India?
Melvin: Truth hurts. It’s a fact that fanatic Muslims lure innocent Christian/ Hindu Girls to get married to them, impregnate them and send them to Syria/Afghanistan to work as sex slaves. It’s happening everywhere in the world including western countries. Why so much hype when the truth is spilled.
Praveen: Usual anti-Hindu rhetoric from Halal certified TIME magazine.
Aarti: BBC goes again. Do not believe anything BBC says against Hindus or Modi as it is dominated by Muslims. The movie made crores of Rupees so far. This movie also exposes how Muslim treat females. I just saw that movie in Fairfax, VA. Three girls were essentially raped in the movie by Jihadis. There are many girls that are getting affected by the way these guys pretend that they are Hindus, changing their name and once married they make the girls wear Burkas and send them to concentration camps. It is disgusting to watch. Should be eye opening for many. The movie is similar to Kashmir Files where Hindus were persecuted by the Muslims – Congress was heading at the center.
Nirmala: TIME magazine is Anti-India and Pro-ISIS.
Luther: This movie is based on true events. The protests by Muslims show that ISIS represents Islam and Muslims follow ISIS. This movie is similar to the movie ‘Caliphate’ made by true events in Sweden. Girls from the UK joined ISIS and the UK government did not let the girl return to the UK. There was no hue and cry from BBC, The Times, AP, Reuters and New York Times!! Similar movies come from India and all these agenda driven media start jumping! Hypocrisy at its peak by these agencies and some governments. The British taxpayer’s agency called BBC is the worst.
Divya: The Time, Yahoo News and other anti-Indian Govt. International media is up to their mischief again. How can a well investigated, researched, fact-based movie on an International terrorist movement misusing religion to lure innocent women for their cause be called a conspiracy laden?
Furthermore, what has this got to do with the truth of the religion concerned and should cause controversies. This low budget film is creating waves and a hit at the box office.
Nichole: Alt News being a “fact-checking website”? The founder of Alt News was literally imprisoned for hate speech against Hindus. Just a biased article all around.
Rajput: I am pretty sure the author of the TIME story is a Stockholm-syndrome victim of “grooming gangs” from the UK. She looks like a cross-breed for sure.
Smriti: Conspiracy is not in the movie but the TIME article. No sane person would believe Time magazine and this article’s author. Minority sucking is all too familiar for these.
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