Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh BJP secretary Abhijat Mishra on Saturday organised the screening of the controversial film "The Kerala Story" for around 80 college girls in the city, a move criticised by opposition parties in the state.
The BJP leader booked an entire theatre for the screening and said the movie should be shown to young girls "to prevent them from love jihad".
The film, starring Adah Sharma, revolves around a group of women in Kerala who are allegedly forced to convert and join the ISIS.
Mishra said the movie is based on true events and shows how gullible girls are manipulated and then converted.
"The message which I want to convey to these girls, through this movie, is that they need to be aware and should not fall in any kind of traps, and focus on their studies," he said.
"Must watch 'The Kerala Story' to save lives of young girls. Parties supporting terrorists and love jihad and opposing The Kerala Story should be banned," he tweeted in Hindi.
The Opposition, however, said the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was using the platform of film-making to propagate its political ideas rather than educate the masses.
Ankita Awasthi, a student who watched the movie, said one should be aware and not fall prey to clandestine designs.
Pratima Ghosh, a teacher who accompanied the college-going girls to the screening, said after watching the movie, one expects that the girls will stay away from "bad people".
Taking umbrage at the screening of the movie, Samajwadi party spokesperson Ameeque Jamei said the BJP should change its name to "Bhartiya Nazi Party" and the Information and Broadcasting ministry to "propaganda ministry".
He also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is talking about a propaganda movie as he has nothing else to talk about.
"... this shows that the BJP is losing big time in (poll-bound) Karnataka," Jamei said.
The hotly debated film on conversion is at the centre of national discourse with Modi crediting it for bringing out terror conspiracies and using it to attack the Congress during a rally in Karnataka on Friday.
In a rally in Ballari in poll-bound Karnataka, the prime minister had said, "Such a beautiful state of the country, where people are hardworking and talented. The Kerala Story' film brings out terror conspiracies happening in that state."
"It is unfortunate that Congress can be seen standing with this terror trend that is seeking to ruin the country. Congress is even indulging in backdoor political bargaining with people having terror inclinations. People of Karnataka should be cautious about Congress," he added.
Congress spokesperson Anshu Awasthi said films are meant to educate people but the saffron party politicises every issue for its political benefits. "They are making such movies to propagate their political needs," he said.
"These kinds of movies do not benefit anyone or the country. They do not solve the problem of unemployment or inflation. The BJP always uses these kinds of movies to distract people from real issues," Awasthi added.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)