Kerala: Film set vandalized by right-wing group, CM promises action
Several members of a right-wing group, Antharashtra Hindu Parishad (AHP) on Sunday vandalized a film set erected at Aluva in Kerala's Ernakulam district. Subsequently, the Perumbavoor Police has now registered an FIR and started investigating the attack. Meanwhile, the state Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has promised strict action against those responsible for the act. Here are more details.
The film set, a replica of a church, situated near a temple on the outskirts of Kochi, was erected in March by the art team of an upcoming Malayalam film Minnal Murali, starring Tovino Thomas. The movie was set to be released in August, but will be delayed due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown restrictions as well as the recent attack.
In a Facebook post, the AHP claimed that they destroyed the set in association with Bajrang Dal members because the property stood opposite the Shiva temple at Kalady. "When they were building it, we had said no. We had submitted complaints. We don't have a habit of pleading so we decided to demolish it. We have to protect our self-respect," the post reads.
Addressing the issue, Vijayan promised tough action against the miscreants. "Such incidents have no place in Kerala. This is clearly aimed at provoking religious sentiments. Kerala is not a land where such communal forces can thrive. The government will take strong action. There is no doubt about it," he said at a press briefing.
The incident has sparked angry reactions from all sections of the Malayalam film industry. The movie's director Basil Joseph said they had taken all due permissions from the panchayat as well as the temple body before erecting the set for shooting the climax scenes of their forthcoming movie. The director added they are "very sad and anxious" over the incident.
"At a time when we are all fighting against a pandemic together, when we all stood with uncertainty, we didn't think even in our dreams that something like this could happen. Especially in Kerala," Joseph, who has also acted in several Malayalam films, said.
The film's star Tovino said, "We've heard of movie sets being vandalised by religious fanatics in Northern parts of India. Now, it's happening to us right here (in Kerala)." "It has caused us a lot of distress, and even more of anxiety," he stated in a social media post. The actor added that they have decided to deal with the matter legally.
Vandals with no respect for private property, let alone for religion, should be prosecuted and fined. https://t.co/uIhd47KkHB— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) May 25, 2020