Doordarshan to telecast propaganda film ‘The Kerala Story’, Congress approaches ECI

Congress flag.

Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress in Kerala has lodged a complaint with the Election Commission of India (ECI) regarding Doordarshan’s decision to broadcast the propaganda and anti-Muslim film ‘The Kerala Story’, suggesting it is a covert attempt to sow religious division and benefit the ruling BJP in the upcoming elections.

The announcement by Doordarshan to air the movie on April 5 has triggered significant opposition from both the ruling CPI(M) and the opposition Congress in Kerala.

The Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the youth wing of the CPI(M), strongly protested the broadcast decision and announced plans for a demonstration at the Doordarshan office in the state capital.

V D Satheesan, Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, wrote to the Election Commission urging Doordarshan to retract its decision to broadcast “The Kerala Story”, which he described as a highly malicious propaganda film aiming to tarnish the state’s image. Satheesan alleged this is part of the Sangh Parivar’s strategy to divide the nation along communal lines.

He criticised the government of India for scheduling the movie’s telecast on Doordarshan ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, viewing it as a strategic move to exploit religious sentiments for the BJP’s electoral gain.

Satheesan emphasised that Doordarshan’s decision is an affront to the people of Kerala and contravenes the model code of conduct, which prohibits actions that could foster religious division.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan condemned Doordarshan’s move, warning it would exacerbate communal tensions before the Lok Sabha polls and urging the broadcaster not to become a mouthpiece for the BJP and RSS.

Vijayan stated on ‘X’ that Doordarshan’s decision to air a film that promotes polarisation is reprehensible and called on the national broadcaster to retract the decision.

The CPI(M) issued a statement demanding Doordarshan withdraw its decision, cautioning against aligning with the BJP’s efforts to polarise Kerala’s secular society.

In a separate case last year, the Kerala High Court declined to block the film’s release, noting the movie’s trailer did not offend any specific community and had been cleared for public viewing by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

The film, which purportedly falsely claims that 32,000 Kerala women were converted and radicalised for terrorist activities, faced strong criticism upon its theatrical release in 2023, prompting protests from both the CPI(M) and the Congress.

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