‘The Kerala Story’ draws nation’s attention to love jihad: Yogi after attending special screening

According to a statement issued by the Uttar Pradesh government, the chief minister said, "Love jihad is an agenda of 'undeclared terrorism' against humanity."

Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Friday watched a special screening of ‘The Kerala Story’ here along with his ministerial colleagues, and claimed the movie draws the nation’s attention to ‘love jihad’.

Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, Uttar Pradesh BJP president Bhupendra Singh Chaudhary as well as school children were present at the Lok Bhavan for the screening of the film, which has triggered a row, with opposition parties, including the Congress and the TMC, saying it is based on false claims and will create communal divisions.

Directed by Sudipto Sen, “The Kerala Story” shows how some women from Kerala were forced to convert to Islam and recruited by the terror group Islamic State (IS). The film was released on May 5.

MS Education Academy

According to a statement issued by the Uttar Pradesh government, the chief minister said, “Love jihad is an agenda of ‘undeclared terrorism’ against humanity.”

‘Love jihad’ is a term used by right-wing organisations to allege a conspiracy to convert Hindu women to Islam through marriage.

“The Kerala Story draws the attention of the entire nation to the conspiracy of love jihad. The entire society must be made aware of this distortion. A commendable and brave effort has been made in this regard by the film’s producer, director and entire team,” Adityanath said.

In a tweet in Hindi earlier in the day, the chief minister said, “Watched the film ‘The Kerala Story’ at a special screening today with honourable members of my cabinet. Hearty congratulations and best wishes to all the people associated with this film!”

Pratibha, a student present at the screening, said it was a wonderful experience and “we should not blindly believe anyone”.

Transport Minister Dayashankar Singh after watching the film claimed that it is based on true events and showed how teenage girls are being lured, brainwashed and pushed into wrong things.

“They are taken to other countries and it is impossible to return from there. They are tortured over there and are forced to work for terrorist organisations,” he said and added that if anyone dares to do any such thing in Uttar Pradesh, strict action will be taken against them.

In the statement later, Adityanath asserted that his government followed the policy of zero tolerance against every ‘distortion’ that hinders social unity, challenges national unity, and poses a threat to humanity.

“That is why our government implemented the ‘Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act’ on November 27, 2020, by first making an ordinance and then, a duly enacted law against perversions like ‘love jihad’,” he added.

Since the inception of the law in 2020, 433 cases have been registered under it which led to 855 arrests, according to the statement.

Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Jails and Homeguards Dharmveer Prajapati said that every child should watch this movie. He also said that parent’s should give time to their children and listen to their problems.

Fisheries Minister Sanjay Nishad said strict laws should be made in the country to deal with such incidents. The movie should be made tax-free everywhere and people should take care of their children, he said.

On Tuesday, the chief minister had said that the Uttar Pradesh government will make “The Kerala Story” tax-free in the state. The announcement came days after the Madhya Pradesh government said it will give tax-free status to the film in the state.

“‘The Kerala Story’ to be made tax free in Uttar Pradesh,” Adityanath had earlier said on his official Twitter handle.

While West Bengal, where the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC is in power, has banned the movie after three days of its screening in theatres, Tamil Nadu has not banned the film but the exhibitors have withdrawn it from cinema halls owing to security concerns.

The Supreme Court on Friday sought replies of the West Bengal and the Tamil Nadu governments on a plea of the producers of “The Kerala Story” that the movie is not being shown in theatres in these two states.

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