Upcoming Bollywood Movie Falsely Claims 32K Hindu Women Were Forced To Join ISIS - IAMC

Upcoming Bollywood Movie Falsely Claims 32K Hindu Women Were Forced To Join ISIS

An upcoming Bollywood movie, “The Kerala Story,” has been slammed for peddling overtly anti-Muslim propaganda for its blatantly false claim that over 30,000 Hindu women were converted to Islam and made to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). 

In the film’s teaser, a woman wearing a hijab narrates how she wanted to become a nurse, but is now a terrorist, locked in a jail in Afghanistan.

While Hindu supremacists have begun circulating the trailer as fact, other social media users, including journalists and activists, have responded with outrage over the film’s anti-Muslim propaganda.

Journalist Vijaita Singh demanded that the makers of the film explain how they arrived at a figure of 32,000 Indians who joined ISIS when government data clearly indicates only 108 people.

In a Twitter thread, screenwriter Darab Farooqui slammed the film’s premise and its dangerous message, calling it “obvious propaganda.”

“Journalists in any other democracy would be debunking these lies, but not in India. This claim would not be challenged by the lazy and sold-out media,” he said. “This type of propaganda not only harms Kerala, but it also demonises Indian Muslims… This kind of blatant lying demonises one community and paints the other as the victim.”

“It’s past time for the secular forces to stop being such slackers and actively combat propaganda like this. Every court in each state of India should contest the 32,000 claim,” he added.

Kerala moves Supreme Court over acquittal of Hindu supremacists in murder case

The Kerala government has filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the acquittal of Hindu supremacist members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), in the murder case of a Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader V.V. Vishnu.

According to the eyewitness reports of four individuals, Vishnu was hacked to death on April 1, 2008, by a Hindu extremist mob. Those accused were members of the RSS, a paramilitary Hindu supremacist group that has close ties with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP.

Earlier, a district court had sentenced 11 of the accused to double life term imprisonment, one life term for one of the accused, and a three-year prison sentence for another. However, the high court acquitted the 13 accused in July, claiming that the evidence produced by the prosecution was “insufficient.”

The release of this group of Hindu supremacists comes just months after the Supreme Court facilitated the release of 11 Hindu men who were convicted of gang-raping a Muslim woman, Bilkis Bano, and slaughtering her family. 

Muslim man, jailed for 802 days for protesting discrimination, gets bail

A Muslim man who was wrongfully imprisoned for over two years for protesting the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) anti-Muslim Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) has finally received bail after an Uttar Pradesh court found that there was no evidence against him. 

The man, Haseen, was arrested in August 2020 for protesting against the CAA in 2019 in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur district. Like many Muslim men across the country who took part in the protests, Haseen was wrongfully imprisoned without any proof of wrongdoing.

During the protests against the discriminatory law, several Muslim men were shot dead by cops in Kanpur and other parts of Uttar Pradesh.

Dozens of Muslim men are still in jail under stringent laws for participating in anti-CAA protests in Uttar Pradesh. Human rights bodies across the globe and the United Nations have vehemently criticized the Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)- ruled Uttar Pradesh’s approach towards the Muslim protesters. At least 23 Muslims lost their lives in police firing during the protests.

Officials say hate speech, internet overuse, media responsible for mob violence

Senior police officials in Rajasthan state believe that hate speech, overuse of the internet, and violence depicted by over-the-top media services are the prime reasons for increased mob violence and lynching in the region.

“Hate speech is [a] major reason behind such incidents,” said police official Tejaswini Gautam. “A policy to regulate social media, which is already there, needs to be revisited so that strict action can be taken against those who post anything illogically without verification.”

She added that before social media, conflicts would be sparked on an individual level: “It never mattered to which religion the individuals belonged, but now, the instances draw religious angles in a fraction of seconds.”

Rajasthan in the last few years has become almost synonymous with incidents of mob lynching and vigilante violence.

One famous incident is a Hindu extremist mob attack against Pehlu Khan, his two sons, and four others on April 1, 2017, on suspicion of cow smuggling. Khan passed away three days later and is a widely-known mob lynching victim. 

In another incident, 28-year-old Akbar Khan was beaten to death in Rajasthan’s Alwar district by a Hindu supremacist mob on suspicion of smuggling cows.

The Rajasthan government had tabled the Rajasthan Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019. However, the new law came under fire from the Hindu supremacist BJP at the center and was returned.