GUWAHATI: Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, on Thursday (May 11), watched “The Kerala Story” with his cabinet colleagues and other BJP MLAs at a theatre in Guwahati.

“I watched ‘The Kerala Story’ along with my cabinet colleagues and party members. Kerala story reflects the story of a certain innocent lady who has been used by the terrorists,” said Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma.

“This film exposes terrorism in the world and what’s going on inside the terrorist camps in the name of jihad and in the name of religion,” Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said after watching the film.

The Assam CM further said: “Certain sections of the people globally are creating havoc in the minds of innocent Kerala people as far as the claim and whatever, I have seen in social media through real-time interviews. I must say that it is going through a toughest phase and the people of Kerala, irrespective of religion, must raise their voice against the use of innocent girls by the terrorist organizations.”

“In Assam we do not have cases where the girls join terrorism, but definitely there are cases where girls were indoctrinated and they were motivated to convert their religion nearly because of the fact that they used to love someone,” Sarma added.

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The Assam CM further said: “I would like to appeal to the people of India to see ‘The Kerala Story’ along with their family, particularly along with their girl child.”

“Banning the movie is not the solution. The movie talks about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and not against the Muslims,” he said.

The Kerala Story is a 2023 Indian Hindi-language film directed by Sudipto Sen and produced by Vipul Amrutpal Shah. 

It stars Adah Sharma, Yogita Bihani, Sonia Balani and Siddhi Idnani.

The plot follows the story of a group of women from Kerala who are converted to Islam and join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The film is premised on the conspiracy theory of “love jihad”, and claims that thousands of women from Kerala are being converted to Islam and recruited into ISIS.

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Critical reception from reviewers has been negative and included descriptions of the film being propaganda.

The film was promoted and endorsed by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has attempted to use it in its campaigning for the Karnataka assembly election and claims that it is truthful.

It has faced push-back with refusals by theatres for screening, several legal cases and protests, primarily in the southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

The Congress and the CPI-M have also accused the filmmakers of defaming the state of Kerala and promoting the agenda of the Sangh Parivar.

It was theatrically released on May 5 and has grossed over Rs 56.86 crore, becoming the fifth-highest-grossing Hindi film of 2023.