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A poster of 'The Kerala Story' at Aries Plex SL Cinemas, in Thiruvananthapuram. Image Credit: ANI

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday announced a ban on the screening of the controversial film ‘The Kerala Story’ in the state, slamming it as a “distorted story”.

She also instructed Chief Secretary H.K. Dwivedi to take the necessary steps to ensure the imposition of the ban.

“Certain scenes in the film can affect peace and harmony in West Bengal. So, we have decided to ban its screening everywhere in the state. The decision has been taken to maintain peace and harmony,” the Chief Minister told mediapersons on Monday.

While announcing the ban, she also took a dig at the Left government in Kerala for not taking a similar step.

“I do not support CPI(M). I want to speak about people. CPI(M) has a clandestine understanding with the BJP. Instead of just criticising the film, the Kerala government should have taken a similar step,” Banerjee said.

She also said that certain political parties are playing with fire.

“They are trying to create division among the people on the basis of religion and caste. That is why ‘The Kashmir Files’ was made just to malign the people of a particular community. And now we have ‘The Kerala Story’, which is yet another untrue story with distorted facts,” she said.

Banerjee also said that she has information about plans to come out with ‘The Bengal Files’ next.

“Now they are trying to malign the image of West Bengal,” the Chief Minister said.

Closing credits

“The Kerala Story” claims that 32,000 Hindu and Christian women from the mixed-faith state of Kerala have converted to Islam, and that some were recruited by the Islamic State (Daesh) terror group.

Critics have called the film out for peddling lies aimed at fomenting communal polarisation and unrest.

The trailer for the Hindi-language film initially claimed that thousands of women had fled their homes “to be buried in the deserts” but as controversy mounted it was edited to say it was a story about three women from Kerala.

But the closing credits still say it is “dedicated to the thousands of girls in Kerala and Mangalore who didn’t come back home after their conversions”.

Anurag Thakur, the information and broadcast minister, said the film showed “the reality of ISIS” and that by banning it, West Bengal was effectively siding with terror outfits that “lure women with love”.

“Everyone must see this movie to understand the agenda of these terror outfits who operate globally but do their recruitment in some parts of India,” Thakur told broadcaster India Today.