Calls to halt release of controversial Bollywood film about conversions to Islam

A complaint has been filed with India’s Federal Ministry of Information and Broadcasting against an upcoming contentious Bollywood film for allegedly portraying Kerala as a ‘terrorist state’.

The trailer of The history of Kerala published earlier this month claims nearly 32,000 women in the now Communist Party-ruled southern state of Kerala have converted to Islam and joined the Islamic State over the past decade .

Aravindakshan BR, a Tamil Nadu-based journalist, has written to the Federal Ministry and Indian Film Certification Commission Chairman Prasoon Joshi to ban the film unless the makers provide evidence against their claim.

The film is directed by Sudipto Sen and produced by Vipul Amrutlal Shah.

In the teaser, actor Adah Sharma can be seen wearing a niqab and standing in front of barbed wire with a snowy mountain in the background.

The actor introduces himself as Shalini Unnikrishnan, who wanted to become a nurse and serve humanity, but converted to Islam and became a terrorist.

The character says she eventually landed in prison in Afghanistan, adding that a “dangerous game” of religious conversion is being played openly in Kerala.

The makers, without providing evidence, claimed that the film is based on real events and that there were 32,000 conversions – all women – who are “buried in the deserts of Syria and Yemen”.

The teaser, since its release, has received heavy criticism for making sweeping claims without providing evidence to support the claim.

Mr Aravindakshan also sent petitions to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who responded by ordering the state police chief to take appropriate action.

“If the movie The history of Kerala is released in theaters or on the OTT platform with false information, it will have bad consequences in society,” the journalist said in his letter to the Chief Minister.

“This movie is against the unity and sovereignty of India and tarnishes the credibility of all intelligence agencies of India.

“Therefore, the Kerala Police should call Sudipto Sen…and investigate the reports on which the Indian intelligence agency is based.”

The film appears to have been based on the four women from Kerala, who accompanied their husbands to join the Islamic State in Khorasan (Isis-K) province but are now housed in an Afghan prison. The women are said to have traveled to Nangarhar in Afghanistan in the years 2016-18.

However, no official or confirmed reports suggest that 32,000 women in the Indian state have converted to Islam and joined the terrorist organization.

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