05/31/2020 India (International Christian Concern) – According to CRUX News, a movie set with a prop church was vandalized by the Hindu nationalist group Antharashtra Hindu Parishad (AHP) in Kerala, India. The nationalists claimed the movie set offended Hindu sensibilities and thus destroyed it.
Members of the AHP and Bajrang Dal publicly took responsibility for the destruction of the movie set on Sunday, May 24, claiming the set was near a Hindu temple.
“When they were building it, we had said no. We had submitted complaints. We don’t have a habit of pleading, so we decided to demolish it. We have to protect our self-respect,” Hari Palode, the General Secretary of the AHP, said.
Kerala police arrested two people on Monday in connection with the vandalism and filed charges against several others. Kerala represents one of the centers of Christianity in India with Christians make up 20 percent of the state’s population.
Filming on the set had been suspended due to the COVID-19 lockdown. The church built on the set was part of the movie “Minnal Murali,” directed by Basil Joseph and stars Tovino Thomas, both members of the Christian community.
“The reasons they cite for this unceremonious act are not understood to our senses till now. We’ve heard of movie sets being vandalized by religious fanatics in northern parts of India. Now it’s happening to us right here,” Thomas said.
“Workers from the pro-Hindutva outfit alleged that the makers of the Malayalam movie build the set in front of the Shiva temple in Kalady and during times of crisis when the country is struggling with the pandemic, right-wing forces continue their communal propaganda to promote their extreme majoritarianism,” Sajan K. Geroge, President of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), said as he condemned the vandalism.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan promised action against those behind the vandalism.
“This is aimed at provoking religious sentiments. Kerala is not a land where such communal forces can thrive. The government will take strong action. There is no doubt about it,” she said Monday.
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