By exploiting the Christian clergy’s support for ‘love jihad’, the BJP made a last ditch effort in Kerala where the party has yet to win a Lok Sabha seat.

By Jimmy James

It is rare for a film to be re-released. When it does happen, it is mostly for its nostalgic value. But Kerala is seeing a renewed set of screenings of a film that hit the theatres only last year. The initiative is led not by the producer, but a religious group – Catholics. The timing of the re-release of The Kerala Story is also curious. It has come just three weeks before elections.

The Kerala Story depicts Muslims in Kerala not only as terrorists but also as luring women of other communities to convert to Islam and then recruit them for “holy wars”. The film initially pegged the number of such women at 32,000 but had later modified a trailer to state that the movie was based on the “true stories” of three girls.

The Catholics are the largest Christian group in the state and arguably the most influential. In Kerala, the community is organised under three independent churches of which the Syro-Malabar Church is the largest. The fans of The Kerala Story belong to this group.

On April 4, the film was screened for teenage children attending vacation Bible classes organised in every parish of the hilly district of Idukki. It stirred a hornet’s nest.

The public broadcaster Doordarshan had already announced the telecast of the film on April 5. The screening of the film, weeks ahead of Kerala elections on April 26, angered parties in the state – except the Bharatiya Janata Party. Political parties marched to Doordarshan offices and issued statements criticising the Modi government’s plan.

This story was originally published in Read the full story here.