The Kerala Story is Fictionalised, Dramatised: Admit Film Producers in Kerala High Court

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By Mohammed Tahir Hakim

The teaser of the recently released film – The Kerala Story – was touted as the true story of 32000 girls.

However, when the trailer was released, the sinister plot of the film promoting, propagating and marketing Islamophobia was unravelled.

Subsequently, the film was released and almost all critics have in unison opined that the film is cringy, crass, agenda-based and a propaganda film though some of the critics having right-wing inclinations have lauded the film. Therefore, expectedly the right-wing inclined government, individuals and groups who want to peddle such a narrative, have given tax-free status and are arranging free screenings and exhorting the masses to watch the film being a true story.

Fictionalised, Dramatised : Admit film producers

Under these circumstances, let us consider what is the plot of the film. Originally, it was of 32,000 girls who had been lured and converted to Islam and recruited to join ISIS, which is now reduced to three girls.

The plot of the film is said to be based upon and inspired by true stories. The teaser of the film specifically proclaimed it and the director of the film also claimed that it is based on his extensive and laborious research.

However, when the lie of such claims was called out, the figure of girls was reduced to 3 from 32000.

Further, when circulation of the teaser and the trailer and the release of the film were challenged before Kerala High Court, on the ground being untrue, misinforming and misrepresenting, the producers of the film declared that they will not retain the teaser in their social media handles and it will be removed from their social media handles.

Moreover, the producers also declared that the film is also released with a disclaimer that the film has been fictionalised and is a dramatised version of events and that the film does not claim the accuracy or factuality of historic events. Therefore, it is unequivocally and unambiguously admitted and declared before High Court that the teaser and the film including the trailer, which as such has excerpts of the film, are not true representations of facts, but fictionalised and dramatised.

Film demonises Muslims

The admission of the truth, neither avoids the damage, nor remedies the damage caused by the misrepresentation and peddling of untruth by the teaser, the trailer and the film since the inaccurate, non-factual and fictionalised and dramatised version demonises the entire Muslim community.

Particularly, since Muslims are depicted as untrustworthy, unreliable, out to betray, and also lure non-Muslim girls, involved in ‘love-jihad’, demeaning and blasphemous to non-Islamic faith, beliefs and traditions and recruiters for terrorist organisations. Thereby, creating and propagating mistrust against Muslims and causing breach of peace and disharmony and ultimately resulting in hatred and enmity against Muslims.

Unfortunately, such a fictionalised, dramatized, inaccurate and non-factual portrayal of Muslims is being given the status of a tax-free film, its free screenings are arranged and are being promoted and propagated by people having right-wing inclinations both within the Government and outside the Government.

In the said context the true Kerala story as unravelled and recorded in the judicial proceedings before Hon’ble Supreme Court arising from the proceedings from Kerala High Court need to be noticed and reflected upon.

The proceedings arose in and around 2016 from the relationship between a Hindu girl Akhila and a Muslim boy Shafin Jahan. The said relationship culminated in the acceptance of Islam by the Hindu girl and marriage to a Muslim boy. Therefore, the father of the Hindu girl was seriously offended and enraged. He, therefore, filed a habeas corpus petition before the Kerala High Court alleging that his daughter was missing. The said petition was not entertained.

Subsequently, he filed another habeas corpus petition alleging his daughter was subjected to forced conversion, i.e. love-jihad, illegally married and likely to be transported to join ISIS. The said petition was accepted by Kerala High Court and thereupon investigation was ordered by National Investigation Agency (NIA) regarding the credentials and the character of the Muslim boy and the way the marriage was conducted. Further, thereby, the marriage was annulled and the Hindu girl was separated from her Muslim boy-husband and prohibited from meeting him. Consequently, the Muslim boy-husband approached the Hon’ble Supreme Court.

Again before the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the same contentions were raised by the father of the Hindu girl. Therefore, particularly to investigate and unearth the malicious conspiracy of forced conversion and marriage i.e. love-jihad, the Hon’ble Supreme Court ordered the investigation by the country’s premier investigating agency, NIA under the guidance of the Retired Supreme Court Judge.

Unfortunately, the State and NIA opposed the Muslim boy-husband’s petition and supported the cause of the Hindu girl’s father. However, the Hindu girl, Akhila, now a Muslim girl, Hadiya, unequivocally, unambiguously and emphatically declared before the Hon’ble Supreme Court that she had on her own choice and free-will accepted Islam, became Muslim and married a Muslim boy.

Therefore, the Hon’ble Supreme Court allowed the petition of the Muslim boy-husband and quashed the judgement of the Kerala High Court annulling their marriage, permitting Hadiya @ Akhila to pursue her future endeavours according to law, but ordered NIA to continue its investigation. Subsequently, NIA completed the investigation and declared that it has not found any evidence of coercion for conversion that can result in prosecution. In other words, NIA could not find any case for prosecution of the alleged offence of love-jihad.

The aforesaid facts as unravelled before the Hon’ble Supreme Court and recorded in its orders and judgement in the said case pertain to the period between 2016 to 2018 in Kerala, i.e. the same period on which the film The Kerala Story is based. However, it is evident that the true Kerala Story as unravelled before the Hon’ble Supreme Court is completely contrary to the fictionalised, dramatized, inaccurate and non-factual, film The Kerala Story.

The true Kerala story evidences that love-jihad and transportation to join ISIS is untrue. Whereas, the film, the Kerala Story, fictionalises, dramatizes and inaccurately and non-factually depicts love-jihad and transportation to join ISIS. It is, therefore, evident that the principal plot of the film, the Kerala Story is completely contrary to the finding of facts, as investigated by NIA and recorded by the Hon’ble Supreme Court.

Therefore, it is evident that the film The Kerala Story is an upfront and unabashed attempt to peddle untruth, love-jihad, malign and demonise Muslims and create enmity and hatred against Muslims. But it is most unfortunate that both from within and outside the Government, people and groups with inclinations towards right-wing are promoting and propagating the film and the maligning, demonising and enmity and hatred against Muslims.

(The author of the article is an advocate practising in Gujarat High Court.)

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