Antharashtra Bajrang Dal leader arrested for vandalising Malayalam film set

Members of right wing Hindu groups had demolished a church set erected for the film 'Minnal Murali' on Sunday.
Minnal Murali set
Minnal Murali set
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One of the accused in the case of demolishing a film set in Kalady, Kerala, has been arrested, said district police chief, Ernakulam Rural, K Karthick IPS. The others accused in the case will also be arrested soon, the police chief wrote on his Facebook page.

On Sunday, members of right wing Hindu groups - Antharashtra Hindu Parishad (AHP) and Antharashtra Bajrang Dal - demolished a church set erected for the film Minnal Murali, directed by Basil Joseph with Tovino Thomas in the lead.

A district level leader of the Antharashtra Bajrang Dal was arrested in connection with the incident, police said.

He has been charged under various sections of the IPC, including 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony).

"We have registered a case. A Special Investigation Team has been constituted. The culprits will be arrested soon,” K Karthick told reporters.

Chief Minister Pinarayi reacted strongly to the attack, saying that Kerala is not a place for communal forces to play such games. Noting that the movie set was constructed in March by spending lakhs of rupees and shooting was stopped due to the lockdown, CM Pinarayi asked "what religious sentiment was hurt" due to the erection of the film set there.

In a Facebook post, Hari Palode, the leader of a right wing group AHP, congratulated a district leader of Rashtriya Bajrang Dal for destroying the set raised on the sandbed of the Periyar river in Kalady, near a temple.

He has also posted photos of the alleged vandalism on his Facebook page.

Expressing anguish over the attack, actor Tovino Thomas, who is starring in the film, said the contractual set of the film Minnal Murali was destroyed by a group of "racialists".

The actor said that the film's first schedule at Wayanad had been in progress when the construction of the set for the second schedule began at Kalady. "For this, we had the rightful permission from the authorities concerned. And as we were about to start shooting in this set, which was built at a considerable cost, the whole country went into lockdown, following which our shoot was paused, just like all others,” he said.

The construction of the set was carried out by art director Manu Jagad and team, under special instructions by stunt choreographer Vlad Rimburg.

(With inputs from PTI)

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