Members of the Hindu militant organisations in Kerala, the Antharashtra Hindu Parishad (AHP) and Antharashtra Bajrang Dal demolished a church set erected for the shoot of a Malayalam movie in Ernakulam, on Sunday.
The set was erected to shoot the movie Minnal Murali, directed by Basil Joseph and starring young Malayalam star Tovino Thomas.
Hari Palode, the General Secretary of AHP wrote on Facebook that they were not used to pleading to anyone, and decided to demolish the church set that was constructed near a Hindu establishment Adi Sankaracharya Mutt.
“When they built such a structure in front of the Mahadeva shrine in Kalady, we said no. We had also submitted several complaints. We do not have the habit of pleading. We decided to demolish it. Our self respect must be protected at all cost,” AHP leader said and shared pictures of his party members demolishing the set.
“It is during this prevailing uncertainty that this contractual set was destroyed by a group of racialists yesterday. The reasons they cite for this unceremonious act are not understood to our senses till now. We’ve heard of movie sets being vandalised by religious fanatics in Northern parts of India. Now, it’s happening to us right here,” Tovino Thomas said.
According to the AHP, the set was constructed without permission, but this claim has been refuted by the movie team and panchayat authority.
Tovino shared a letter seeking permission to raise the temporary set which panchayat committee had approved.
“Minnal Murali’s first schedule at Wayanad had been in progress when the set for the second schedule began construction at Kalady. It was carried out by art director Manu Jagad and team, under special instructions by stunt choreographer Vlad Rimburg. For this, we had the rightful permissions from the concerned authorities.And as we were about to start shooting in this set – which was built on a considerable cost, the whole country went into lockdown, following which our shoot was paused, just like all others,” he added.
The actor also said that it has caused us a lot of distress, and even more of anxiety.
The movie team has decided to go ahead with the legal proceedings.
“At a time when we should all stand together these AHP elements spreading hate should be stopped at all cost. Such intolerance is not taking us anywhere,” actor Rima Kallingal posted on facebook.
Film directors Basil Joseph Lijo Jose Pellissery, Aashiq Abu, Muhsin Parari, Zakariya K, actor Aju Varghese
has called the set destruction a colossal loss and heartbreaking and demanded the arrest of culprits.
Eranakulam MP and Congress leader Hibi Eden also demanded the immediate arrest of members of the Hindu right wing group.