Published On: Fri, Apr 5th, 2024

Doordarshan to air ‘The Kerala Story’ ahead of Lok Sabha polls

New Delhi: In a move that has sparked political firestorms and public outcry, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday openly criticized the national broadcaster Doordarshan’s decision to air the contentious film “The Kerala Story.”

Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday openly criticized the national broadcaster Doordarshan’s decision

The Chief Minister’s condemnation comes amidst concerns that the film’s telecast could inflame communal tensions, particularly with the Lok Sabha elections on the horizon. Vijayan called upon Doordarshan to retract its decision, cautioning against transforming the public service broadcaster into a vehicle for BJP and RSS propaganda.

“The broadcast of ‘The Kerala Story,’ a film that stirs polarization, is a highly condemnable act,” Vijayan stated, emphasizing the need for the broadcaster to remain impartial, especially in the lead-up to the general elections.

Echoing the Chief Minister’s sentiments, the ruling CPI(M) has also demanded that Doordarshan reconsider its decision, accusing the BJP of leveraging the film to polarize the secular fabric of Kerala society. The CPI(M) state secretariat has framed the telecast as a direct challenge to Kerala’s ethos, recalling the strong protests and the censor board’s removal of certain scenes from the film.

CPI(M) MP AA Rahim has also vehemently opposed the screening, urging Doordarshan not to become a “centre of hate propaganda.”

The Kerala High Court had previously declined to halt the film’s release, finding no offensive content directed at any specific community. The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) had similarly deemed the movie fit for public viewing, despite allegations that the film’s trailer made unfounded claims regarding the radicalization of women from Kerala.

The debate has also seen Union Minister and BJP leader V Muraleedharan defending the film as an expression of artistic freedom, sanctioned by the censor board and protected under the Constitution’s ‘Right to Expression.’ “Right to Expression’ is given by the Constitution. Left has always been saying that we are for freedom of expression, then why they should be worried when such movies are being aired. The Left has been known for the absurd allegation,” he said.

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