‘The Kerala Story’ vs Manipur Documentary Sparks Political Tensions in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram: A cinematic showdown and religious rift have emerged as a battleground for votes in Kerala’s electoral landscape. The controversy sparked by the screening of the controversial film ‘The Kerala Story’ has escalated into a clash of films and ideologies, with the recent addition of the Manipur-based documentary ‘Cry of the Oppressed.’

Amidst the bid to sway voters from the Christian demographic, constituting 18% of the state’s population, political manoeuvring intensifies. Traditionally aligned with the Congress, the Christian community now finds itself courted by the BJP, revealing internal divisions between Catholic, Syrian, Protestant, and Latin Christian factions.

The screening of ‘Cry of the Oppressed,’ portraying Manipur’s year-long turmoil, serves as a counterpoint to ‘The Kerala Story,’ which some dioceses and Christian organizations promoted to consolidate Christian votes.

Father James Panavelil of the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese, defending the screening of ‘Cry of the Oppressed,’ emphasizes its relevance in addressing real issues faced by Manipur’s populace, contrasting it with what he perceives as the propagandist agenda of ‘The Kerala Story.’ He highlights concerns regarding the latter’s portrayal of sensitive issues and its potential to stoke religious tensions.

Meanwhile, political parties, including the Left Democratic Front and the United Democratic Front, condemn the screenings as aligning with the RSS agenda, while the BJP denies involvement, asserting its focus on issues rather than polarization.

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