Kerala: Five, including a murder-accused, arrested for vandalizing film sets
After the vandalism of a film's sets in Kerala's Kalady (Ernakulam district) by the members of a right-wing group created uproar across the Malayalam film industry and invited a sharp reaction from the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, five persons were arrested. Shockingly, one of them is an accused in as many as 29 criminal cases, including three murder cases. Here are more details.
On Sunday, several members of the Rashtriya Bajrang Dal, a part of the Antharashtra Hindu Parishad (AHP) vandalized the sets of an upcoming Malayalam film. The structure, which depicted a church, cost Rs. 50 lakh. The group said they had an objection to it, as it stood near a Shiva temple. The right-wing group also defended its action on Facebook.
"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 AHP wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday.
The Ernakulam Rural Police arrested five men for vandalizing the sets. They are Ratheesh (37), a leader of the Rashtriya Bajrang Dal, Rahul Raj (19), Rahul (22), Gokul (25), and Sandeep Kumar (33). All of them are natives of the Ernakulam district. They have been booked under various sections of the IPC, including section 379 (theft), section 454 (trespassing), and section 427 (damaging property).
Ratheesh, the prime accused in the vandalism case, already has his name attached to 29 criminal cases, including three murder cases and several cases of attempted murder, Ernakulam Rural Police told The News Minute. He was convicted with ten years imprisonment in a murder case, whose appeal is underway. "Their main aim was to create communal disharmony," a top official told the publication.
Earlier, Vijayan had condemned the incident and promised strict 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 had said.
The sets were installed by the team of upcoming movie Minnal Murali, directed by Basil Joseph and starring popular actor Tovino Thomas in the lead role. The movie was set to be released in August but will be delayed due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown, as well as the recent attack. The incident has angered all sections of the Malayalam film industry.
"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... We are very sad and anxious," Joseph said.
So sorry to hear about this Tovi ! Some don’t seem to realise the effort emotions talent and cost that goes into building and creating something. Supporting you and #sophia ma’am and the rest of the team ! Lots of love. https://t.co/MCtqdy8VVg— dulquer salmaan (@dulQuer) May 25, 2020