An intriguing image of a policeman standing for a photograph with a group of burqa-clad women has gone viral on WhatsApp and social media in recent days.
The image has drawn a mixed reaction on social media with the right-wing in India claiming it to be proof of the ‘Islamisation of Kerala’; while others have called the photo an outright fake.
The photo was lapped up by Dainik Bharat, which calls itself an ‘anti-secular news portal’. The story’s headline translates as ‘This is not Saudi, Iran or Pakistan. This is India’s Kerala. Communists and Congress have turned it into (the) Islamic State.
FACTS ABOUT THE PHOTO:
This photograph was taken at an Arabic college in Uliyathadukka, Kasaragod in Kerala on October 19th, 2017. The policeman in the photo is District Police Chief KG Simon IPS.
BOOM contacted the police chief who said the women in the photo were taking part in a self-defense workshop called ‘Nirbhaya’, organised by local Vanita police or women’s police.
The Indian Express which wrote a story about a Kerala lawyer being trolled for criticizing the face veil reported citing a source that the girls in the photo wore a niqab as the event was held at a public place (Sunflower Auditorium) and not on campus.
In a Facebook post, Advocate C Shukkur, a former public prosecutor, wrote in Malayalam that Muslims in Kerala have not created a separate identity for themselves based on language or attire.
‘Saudification’ was a recent phenomenon in society which would not only destroy the collective Malayali identity but also sow seeds of communal strife, he said.