Concerned that the contentious movie “The Kerala Story” seeks to create “communal divisions in society through false claims,” the Congress party has urged the Kerala government to refuse permission for its screening. The movie has been banned in some parts like in West Bengal but still the movie is raking in moolah at the box office.
The Kerala Story is a narrative that explores the circumstances surrounding the alleged disappearance of about 32,000 women in Kerala, according to filmmaker Sudipto Sen. The movie makes the claim that these women have converted, become radicalized, and taken part in both domestic and international terrorism.
Therefore, the question: Is “The Kerala Story” a work of fiction or fact ?
It appears from extensive research that “The Kerala Story” only told part of the truth. The movie claims to be based on the experiences of four women who, between 2016 and 2018, converted to Islam and went to Afghanistan with their husbands to join ISIS. These women are reportedly being held in a prison in Afghanistan at the moment. The four women’s tales are used by the film’s director, Sudipto Sen, to illustrate a larger theme of purported Islamic State recruitment in Kerala.
The claim made in the movie that 32,000 girls in the southern state have gone “missing” after being coerced or falsely converted to Islam and then recruited by the Islamic State is the most contentious claim made in the whole movie.
According to Sudipto Sen, who was then Kerala’s Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy delivered a report to the Kerala Assembly in 2010 that stated “every year approximately 2800-3200 girls were being converted to Islam,” according to an interview on the YouTube channel “Festival of Bharat.”. This number, according to Sen in the interview, adds up to 32,000 to 33,000 girls, which is the figure cited in his film. The director and the government haven’t, however, been able to track down any 2010 documents that contain the numbers Sen.
The movie makes a more substantial claim, namely that 32,000 girls from Kerala converted to Islam, went “missing,” and were allegedly recruited by the Islamic State to fight for jihad.
There were 66 known Indian-origin fighters associated with ISIS as of November 2020, according to the US State Department’s report titled “Country Reports on Terrorism 2020: India.”. According to intelligence agencies, of these people, 90% were reportedly from southern India. According to the aforementioned ORF report, Kerala was home to the majority of India’s ISIS recruits, with the state representing “40 of the 180 to 200 cases” nationwide. The majority of the new ISIS members from Kerala had either worked in the Gulf or had previously visited and had a preexisting tendency toward the group’s extreme ideology.