The Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind has petitioned the Supreme Court to order the Centre and other parties to refrain from allowing the showing or distribution of the movie “The Kerala Story” in cinemas, OTT platforms, and other similar venues. They have also asked that the movie's trailer be taken down from the internet.
The controversial film, which was made by Sunshine Pictures and directed by Sudipto Sen, was scheduled to be released on Tuesday, but the highest court earlier that day turned down a request for a stay on that action.
A panel of justices led by K.M. Joseph and B.V. Nagarathna noted that the censor board had already approved the picture and that the petitioners should instead contest its certification before the proper body.
The appeal for a stay on the film's distribution cannot be combined with claims of hate speech, the bench said, since the screening of films involves a distinct procedure.
Nizam Pasha and senior counsel Kapil Sibal asked the judge to consider their request, stating that the movie would be released on Friday.
“The movie is clearly intended to spread hatred and hostility between different sections of society in India,” Jamiat's new complaint claimed. The movie's theme is that non-Muslim young women are being smuggled to West Asia where they are compelled to join terrorist groups after being persuaded to convert to Islam by their peers.
“The movie demeans the entire Muslim community and it will result in endangering the lives and livelihoods of the petitioners and the entire Muslim community,” the appeal said. “This is a direct infringement under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.”
“The movie suggests that ordinary Muslim youth, their classmates, also play an instrumental role in luring non-Muslims and radicalising them by posing as friendly and good-natured people, in accordance with the directives given by extremist scholars,” said the plea.
The petition, submitted through attorney Ejaz Maqbool, also requested that the Central Board of Film Certification be instructed to further identify incendiary scenes and dialogue for removal or to display a disclaimer stating that the film is a work of fiction and that none of the characters resemble any living or deceased individuals.
“The movie promotes the view that love-jihad is being used to entice non-Muslim women into converting to Islam and also joining the ISIS,” the complaint said. However, a state police investigation conducted in 2009 found no evidence of love-jihad in Kerala.
The government CPI(M)-led Left and the opposition UDF in Kerala had asked that the movie not be played as soon as the preview for it was published.
The Muslim Youth League state committee has even offered a prize of Rs 1 crore to anybody who can refute the “allegations” made in the film.
Pratheesh Viswanath, a right-wing activist and the founder of the Hindu Seva Kendra, also promised Rs 10 crore to demonstrate the reverse, that no one from Kerala joined IS in Syria.
The movie follows the journey of four female college students in Kerala who join the Islamic State and features Adah Sharma, Yogita Bihani, Sonia Balani, and Siddhi Idnani in prominent parts.