SC stays Bengal ban on The Kerala Story | If any issue arises, Opposition should not blame us: TMC

The Kerala Story,
Directed by Sudipto Sen, 'The Kerala Story' portrays a narrative alleging forced conversions of women from Kerala to Islam and their recruitment into the terrorist organisation Islamic State (IS).

After the Supreme Court allowed the screening of The Kerala Story in West Bengal, the TMC on Thursday said if any issue arises due to the showing of the film, the opposition should not blame the state’s ruling party.

The Trinamool Congress also asserted that the state government’s decision not to allow screening of the controversial film was based on intelligence inputs and the party has nothing to do with it.

The opposition BJP and the Congress welcomed the Supreme Courts order. While the saffron party claimed the verdict exposed the TMCs communal politics, the Congress asserted that the state government could have handled the matter differently.

The CPI(M), on the other hand, claimed the Mamata Banerjee government did it to gain “political mileage.

The film’s distributor in the state said they will wait to see the theatre owners’ readiness to screen the movie again.

The Kerala Story was released in theatre halls on May 5. Directed by Sudipto Sen, the film claims that women from Kerala were forced to convert to Islam and recruited by the terror group Islamic State (IS).

“The state government had taken the decision as it apprehended that there could be tension if the film was screened. Now the honourable Supreme Court has passed an order. The state government would abide by the court’s order. The opposition should not try to project it as a victory or a defeat of the state government,” senior TMC leader and minister Shashi Panja said.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had on May 8 ordered an immediate ban on the screening of The Kerala Story.

Senior TMC leader and party spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said, “As the Supreme Court passed an order, the film will be screened again. Now if there are issues due to the film screening, the opposition should not blame us.

TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, considered the number two in the party, said the top court was notified that the decision to ban the film was based on intelligence reports.

The movie was banned as it could have jeopardised communal harmony. If the court has decided to stay the ban, the verdict is final, he said.

The BJP, expectedly, welcomed the apex court’s order claiming that the court has exposed the TMC’s communal politics.

The TMC government banned the film to send out a message to a particular community. The TMC is trying to create tensions among communities through such a decision, senior BJP leader Rahul Sinha said.

Actor turned BJP leader Rudranil Ghosh said it is high time that the TMC learns a lesson from the apex court verdict.

“Such a decision won’t help the TMC consolidate minority votes ahead of the panchayat or Lok Sabha polls. No other state has banned the film, and the TMC government wants us to believe that there will be problems if the movie is screened here,” Ghosh said.

Banning films at theatres is next to impossible in the modern digital age, West Bengal Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said.

“The subject it portrays can be handled in better ways than restricting the film,” said Chowdhury, also the party’s leader in the Lok Sabha.

“I have seen the movie and found a lot of exaggeration in it. But that does not mean that I will put a ban on it. I will have to be prudent and pragmatic in dealing with it,” he said.

Senior CPI (M) leader Tanmoy Bhattacharya accused the TMC government of giving “free publicity” to the film by banning it.

“I will not say whether Mamata Banerjee was right or wrong in banning the film in West Bengal, but I believe she restricted it to gain political mileage,” veteran CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)