Banners goading devotees to watch ‘The Kerala Story’ placed outside Sri Kollur Mookambika Temple in Udupi

Members of the right-wing outfit Hindu Jagarana Vedike placed two flex banners outside the temple, urging people to watch the film.

ByDeeksha Devadiga

Published Jun 07, 2023 | 7:02 PMUpdatedJun 08, 2023 | 12:05 PM

Banners goading devotees to watch ‘The Kerala Story’ placed outside Sri Kollur Mookambika Temple in Udupi

Posters of the highly controversial movie The Kerala Story were put up in front of the Kollur Mookambika Temple in the Udupi district of Karnataka.

Members of the right-wing outfit Hindu Jagarana Vedike placed two flex banners outside the temple, urging people to watch the film.

The English-language flex board in front of the temple. (Supplied)

This is the same Hindu Jagarana Vedike whose annual convention last year saw firebrand right-wing leader and Bhopal MP Pragya Thakur call for violence against Muslims.

As for the banners, the English writing on one of them stated, “Malayalee devotees welcome to Mookambika. If you want your generations to be the devotees of Maa Mookambika, please watch The Kerala Story.”

There was also a Malayalam poster with a similar message. It said: “Watch this movie for your next generation to worship Mookambika too.”

The famous Kollur Mookambika Temple is located in the Byndoor taluk of the Udupi district of Karnataka.

It is one of the most popular and sacred temples for Malayalis, irrespective of their religion and caste.

Also read: The real Kerala story is mostly about love, and not much jihad

Placed on the road to the temple

The Kerala Story banner placed outside the Gram Panchayat Chairperson’s house in Kollur. (Supplied)

A resident of Kollur told South First that the posters had been in place for almost a month.

“The banners were put up after the Karnataka Assembly elections,” he noted.

The elections took place on 10 May, while the counting was held on 13 May.

“They have strategically placed them on the road to the temple and on the wall of a house belonging to a BJP leader,” he added.

That BJP leader is Kollur Gram Panchayat Chairperson Santhosh Bhat.

Review: ‘The Kerala Story’ depicts a Kerala unfamiliar to most Malayalis

Boards removed from inside temple

The Kollur temple has become a promotional centre for the movie The Kerala Story. (Supplied)

The Kollur temple’s managing committee president Chandrashekar Shetty told South First: “We have removed any and all posters from the temple premises, but we cannot get them to remove the banners that are placed outside the temple.”

He explained: “We have no authority over that. It should be done by the police.”

He also said: “We do not support or encourage any communal rift. We welcome everyone the same irrespective of their religion.”

The Kerala Story initially claimed that over 32,000 women from Kerala were converted to Islam and taken to join the Islamic State group, the terrorist outfit.

Challenged in court, the filmmakers changed their claim to three women.

The film has since been allowed to be screened by the Supreme Court, but with the disclaimer that it is largely fiction. The movie is accused of furthering Islamophobia with communally inciting claims.