Kerala

Right-wing activists demolish Church replica on film set at Kalady

Members of right wing outfits vandalise the movie set of a church erected on an islet in Kalady.

Members of right wing outfits vandalise the movie set of a church erected on an islet in Kalady.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Facebook page of Hari Palode, general secretary of Antharashtra Hindu Parishad (AHP), said that the demolition was done by activists of Bajrang Dal

The police on Monday arrested Kara Ratheesh, who reportedly has links with a right-wing group, in connection with Sunday’s demolition of a church-shaped set that was erected for shooting a Malayalam movie on the banks of the river Periyar at Kalady.

 

“The arrested is an accused in over a dozen criminal cases, including murder,” a senior police officer said. Ratheesh has been charged under IPC Sections 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion); 153 (wanton provocation with intent to cause riot); 143 (unlawful assembly); 147 (rioting); 454 (trespass to commit offence); 427 (causing damage) and 380 (theft).

Members of right-wing Hindu outfits had claimed to have demolished the set built for shooting Minnal Murali, directed by Basil Joseph, with Tovino Thomas in the lead.

The Facebook page of one ‘Hari Palode, general secretary of Antharashtra Hindu Parishad (AHP)’ said the structure was demolished by activists of Bajrang Dal, since “complaints against erecting the structure in front of Lord Mahadeva on Kalady Manappuram (sandbank) did not yield results. We decided to demolish it since we do not have the habit of pleading. ‘Swabhimaanam’ (self-respect) has to be protected.” He was not available for comment.

Director’s response

In his FB post, director Basil Joseph, said he was at a loss for words. “For some people, it could be a joke, troll, publicity or politics. For us it was a dream. The set was erected just before the lockdown. We had been working for two years to realise the movie. The art director and team struggled under the hot sun for many days to build the set, for which the hard-earned money of the producer was spent. It was built after getting all requisite permissions. The atrocity has happened at a time when everyone must stand united. I never expected this to happen in Kerala. I am shocked,” Mr. Joseph’s post goes. The set reportedly cost ₹50 lakh.

CM promises action

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said stern action would be taken against the culprits. Chairman of Malayalam Cine Technicians Association (MACTA) Jayaraj said the association strongly protested against such attempts to damage Kerala’s secular culture. “Members of the public must thwart the designs of communal elements who want to pull society backwards,” he said.

Subin Kumar V.S., president of Kalady Mahasivaratri Aghosha Samity that organises the Sivaratri festivities, said the makers of the film had sought the samity’s permission to shoot on the isle, where other movies too were shot.

“We gave our approval, especially since it is revenue land. The attack is a blot on a place visited by thousands of people during Mahasivaratri,” he said.

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Printable version | Jul 8, 2020 10:44:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/right-wing-activists-demolish-film-set-at-kalady/article31669357.ece

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