The release of the teaser of the much awaited film ‘The Kerala Story’ has brought back focus on Indian women from the state who travelled to Afghanistan to become ISIS cadres along with their husbands.
In 2017 NIA released photos of 21 ISIS cadres from Kerala – both men and women. All these 21 people were from two districts in Kerala – Kasaragod and Palakkad. In 2019, four of these women were found in an Afghanistan jail.
Heart breaking and gut wrenching stories of 32000 females in Kerala!#ComingSoon#VipulAmrutlalShah @sudiptoSENtlm @adah_sharma @Aashin_A_Shah#SunshinePictures #TheKeralaStory #UpcomingMovie #TrueStory #AdahSharma pic.twitter.com/M6oROuGGSu
— Adah Sharma (@adah_sharma) November 3, 2022
The NIA investigation into these cases of missing girls unearthed diabolic nexus of love-jihad, radicalization and conversions. And many of these targets were non-Muslim women.
Sonia Sebastian alias Ayisha, Merrin Jacob alias Mariyam Nimisha alias Fathima Isa Raffaela – some of them christian and at least one of them a Hindu, were educated and radicalised in Kerala. They eloped with their husbands to Afghanistan in 2016, converted to Islam and became ISIS recruits.
The husbands of all the four women died in combined Afghan-US strikes against IS. All the women wanted to return to India with their children but Indian government hadn’t taken a call.
In August, 2021 when Taliban took over Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US troops, it is speculated that the four women from Kerala were stranded in Kabul following a jailbreak.
Directed by Sudipto Sen and produced by Vipul Shah, the story deals with the subject of women from the state being converted and trafficked to the Islamic State as slaves.
The lead role is played by actress Adah Sharma. Sharing the teaser she tweeted, “Heart breaking and gut wrenching stories of 32000 females in Kerala! Coming Soon.”
The teaser opens with a girl saying, “My name was Shalini Unnikrishnan and I wanted to become a nurse and serve people. Now I am Fatima Ba, an Islamic State terrorist in a jail in Afghanistan. I am not alone. There are 32,000 girls like me who have been converted and buried in the deserts of Syria and Yemen. A deadly game is being played to convert normal girls into dreaded terrorists in Kerala and that too in the open. Is there nobody to stop them? This is my story and the story of those 32,000 girls. This is The Kerala Story.”
The film was announced in March. The first look of the film opened with the question, “If your daughter doesn’t return home till mid-night, how would you feel?” Then it shows a clip of former Kerala Chief Minister VS V. S. Achuthanandan saying, “The Popular Front (PFI) is trying to make Kerala a Muslim state. Just like agenda of the banned organisation NDF (National Development Front) their plan is to make Kerala a Muslim state within the 20 years.”