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Kerala: Portrayal of a person in an Islamic attire as a terrorist sparks row, govt orders probe

The theme song that triggered the controversy involved an Army personnel arresting a Muslim man playing the role of a terrorist. The Indian Union Muslim League and other outfits objected to the portrayal, spurring further outrage over the issue.

A controversy erupted in Kerala over the portrayal of a person dressed in an Islamic attire as a terrorist in the recently concluded 61st State School Arts Festival in Kozhikode. The Kerala state government ordered an inquiry into the matter in the wake of complaints stating that the portrayal branded a particular community as terrorists.

Kerala education minister V Sivankutty instructed the Director of Public Education to investigate the matter and also proscribed the performing arts society involved in the incident from participating in future state functions. The education minister has asked for a report in a week.

The theme song that triggered the controversy involved an Army personnel arresting a Muslim man playing the role of a terrorist. The Indian Union Muslim League and other outfits objected to the portrayal, spurring further outrage over the issue.

Defending his government, the education minister said the depiction of a community in a particular manner was not the official stance of his regime. He further said that the government was mulling over whether the cultural group that staged the theme song needed to be barred from programmes hosted by the General Education department.

Apparently, the theme song was screened by a state government committee. However, Sivankutty said that it was enacted before the panel without the Islamic dress that was used on stage.

The minister also called controversies over the food served at the arts fete unnecessary and denounced critical remarks from many against chef Pazhayidom Mohanan Namboothiri who he claimed had an excellent career record. The General Education department has already clarified that the arts fete celebrates diversity, Sivankutty said, adding that there was a clear ‘agenda’ at works to stoke controversy over the food served at the event.

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