My name was Shalini Unnikrishnan. Now I am Fatima Ba, an Islamic State terrorist in jail in Afghanistan.’
New Delhi, Nov 03: The teaser of the much-awaited movie ‘The Kerala Story’ is out. Directed by Sudipto Sen and produced by Vipul Amrutlal Shah, the story is about the plight of several thousand of girls who have been converted and trafficked to the Islamic State.
The teaser opens with a girl saying, “My name was Shalini Unnikrishnan and I wanted to become a nurse and serve humanity. Now I am Fatima Ba, an Islamic State terrorist in 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.”
In an old speech, former Kerala Chief Minister, V S Achuthanandan is heard saying that the plan of the Popular Front of India is to make Kerala a Muslim state in the next 20 years.
In March when the announcement of the movie was made, the makers said that it is about the plight of thousands of girls and claimed that many have been trafficked to the Islamic State and other Islamic war zones in the past 10 years. Shah had said that he was in tears when Sen narrated the story to him. That was the day I decided to make the film, he also said. Sen, on the other hand, had revealed that since 2009 nearly 32,000 girls from Kerala and Mangaluru from Hindu and Christian families have been converted to Islam. Most of them end up in Syria, Afghanistan, or such countries, he had also said.
In July 2018, a case was registered against two persons for helping accused Muhammad Riyaz convert a woman and attempting to take her to Syria and sell her off as a sex slave. The lady alleged that she was forced to attend a training program at a Madrasa in Bengaluru. She also said that she got to know that Riyaz was planning on selling her off as a sex slave in Syria. She also said that Riyaz had received money from unidentified sources following her conversion. In 2018, during a meeting of the Intelligence Bureau which was addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, one of the main topics of discussion was religious conversions. It was around the same time that the Kerala police bust a major case in which a girl was forcibly converted to Islam as part of a larger plan. The police said that the girl was tricked into marriage after being converted forcibly to Islam. Her husband was forcibly trying to sell her off as a sex slave to ISIS in Syria. Take the case of Pallath Merrin Jacob and Sonia Sebastian, both girls from Kerala who were forcibly converted to Islam before being taken away to Afghanistan to be part of the ISIS. The cases of Bexen Vincent and Bestin Vincent too need to be taken into account here as they were lured into conversion before they made their journey to Afghanistan, again to be part of an ISIS module
An Intelligence Bureau official tells OneIndia that the demand for those who have converted is higher for two reasons. In some cases, it has been found that a convert is more radical. In the case of women, it is more of less to sell them off as sex slaves. ISIS in particular has a high demand for converted women and they use them as sex slaves and child-making machines in a bid to increase their numbers. The other reason for the such high demand is that converts know less about religion. The Islam that is preached by ISIS is twisted and amended to their suiting. A convert is not completely aware of what the Quran has to say and tends to question their ways much lesser.
During the probes that were conducted in Kerala, some women have even confessed that since they have taken to a new religion, the eagerness to please is more. Hence they end up doing anything told to them blindly. In other cases, it is a well-oiled trap that they fall into following which they have no option but to behave as told. ISIS is also aware that a convert has less acceptance in society. The women in particular are usually ostracised by their families and this makes a perfect case for ISIS to rope them in. This is exactly the pattern that we have found in Kerala, an officer, who is part of the probe, said.