A video production studio owned by a Muslim man in Kerala’s Kannur district was allegedly burnt down on Saturday, a few weeks after he made a ‘provocative’ comment in a WhatsApp group on the use of purdah, police said.
P Rafeeque, who owns the studio Obcura in Taliparamba in Kannur, was the admin of a WhatsApp group called ‘What is Islam’, said the police. A Left sympathiser, Rafeeque had allegedly said on the group that covering faces in public should be avoided and many people use purdah as cover for immoral activities.
Rafeeque said soon after, he began to feel the heat from orthodox elements in the community. He said his comments were widely shared in the Muslim community in Kerala and the Gulf countries. “Many advocated boycotting my studio and asked community members not to give me any work. A few days ago, I received threatening calls over the internet,” said Rafeeque.
He said he does not suspect any particular organisation as every Muslim outfit has conservative believers who can carry out such attacks. “My intention was only to expose the misuse of the type of purdah covering the face,” he said.
Rafeeque said he had incurred a loss of Rs 10 lakh in the fire and has little option but to give up the studio. In his complaint to the police, he said that before setting the recently-renovated studio on fire, the assailants had damaged the equipment and furniture.
Officers said extremist elements could be behind the incident, but they did not know yet if any organisation was involved.