The Goa Police on Monday briefly detained two people for peacefully protesting against the screening of the film The Kerala Story at the International Film Festival of India in Goa, reported The Indian Express.
The two persons, Sreenath, a documentary filmmaker, and Archana Ravi, an illustrator by profession, from Kerala were detained for 45 minutes at the Panaji police station on Monday evening.
The Kerala Story, directed by Sudipto Sen, was released on May 5. It claims to depict how women from Kerala were converted to Islam and recruited by the Islamic State terrorist group. The filmmakers initially had claimed that 32,000 women from Kerala had joined the Islamic State, but when asked for evidence, they altered the trailer to state that the movie was a “compilation of the true stories of three young girls”.
On Monday, Sreenath and Ravi were distributing a two-page pamphlet at the red carpet event. The pamphlet contained a few fact-check points debunking some of the claims made in the film, The Indian Express reported. Ravi said that there was no sloganeering but they had both pinned a meme on the film on a paper to their clothes.
The meme featured an awkward puppet monkey with the caption “Sudipto Sen: The Kerala Story, Source: Trust me bro!”
The two had also posted an Instagram live explaining how Sen had initiated a verbal argument with them after noticing their peaceful protest.
“Have you seen the film,” Sen had asked Ravi, reported The Indian Express. “You have no right to talk about it unless you see the film. I will answer all your questions if you see the film.”
Following this, the police intervened and took the two to the station, reported The News Minute.
“They went through our call records and plucked the paper with the film meme from my T-shirt,” Sreenath told The Indian Express. “After 45 minutes, we were released. We were warned that if we protest near the venue, we will be attested.”
The police also confiscated their IFFI delegate passes and barred them from entering the venue.
“Marked our dissent for screening The Kerala Story at IFFI as it is a propaganda movie,” Sreenath said in a tweet on Tuesday. “We were detained by the Goan police, and they took away our IFFI delegate pass banning us from the festival.”
Sreenath also told the newspaper that it was disheartening that the film was screened at a prestigious festival like the International Film Festival of India. “It is a propaganda movie, which maligns the state and casts aspersions on the minority community,” he said.