One person was killed in a communal clash in the Indian state of Maharashtra on Tuesday. Eight people were injured in the incident. More than 100 people have been arrested. According to the BBC, the violence in the city of Akola was sparked by a social media post about the controversial film ‘The Kerala Story’.
To control the situation, the authorities have blocked the internet service and a curfew has been issued. A woman constable was also injured in the clash. According to police, the violence took place when members of a community gathered outside a police station in Akola to protest social media posts about the film.
According to Indian media, the controversy flared up after the screenshot of the conversation between the two people was shared on Instagram. A police officer told the Indian Express newspaper that some of the messages had hurt the religious sentiments of another person. Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Sinde’s office appealed for peace and directed the state police to take strict action against those involved in the violence.
The film ‘The Kerala Story’, which was released in theaters last week, was in controversy even before its release. The film has been made on the theme of Hindu women being converted to join the Islamic State group in the southern Indian state of Kerala. Opposition party leaders have criticized the film as propaganda. But the producer claims that this film is based on years of research and true events.
The film has also received support from federal ministers and leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Prime Minister Narendra Modi also praised the film at an election rally. On the other hand, the state government of West Bengal has banned the film, while Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, which are governed by the BJP, have declared the film tax-free.
On Sunday, there was also a clash over the film in a medical college in the Jammu district of Indian-administered Kashmir. At least two students were injured in the violence, which was also triggered by a post of a film shared on a WhatsApp group. Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti blamed the federal government for the unrest and accused them of encouraging violence through films that ignited communal fires.