‘Narcotic Jihad’ Remark Row: BJP Leader Seeks Protection for Kerala Bishop
Kallarangatt recently said that Christian women were 'falling prey to love and narcotic jihad' in Kerala.
The Kerala unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has written a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, urging the Union government to offer protection for Pala Bishop Joseph Kallarangatt, who made the controversial 'love and narcotic jihad' remark.
The move came even as the Kerala Muslim Jamaath Secretariat slammed the comments made by the Catholic Bishop.
The letter by state BJP general secretary George Kurian, dated September 11, claims that the Bishop's remark was "a reflection of the insecurity among Christians and Hindus". It has also claimed that the Bishop has been sharply criticised by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly VD Satheesan and as a result some alleged "extremists" marched to the Bishop's home, threatening physical harm to him.
"In this circumstance, I request you (Shah) to kindly intervene in this matter and take necessary action to protect the Bishop and the Christian community," Kurian said in his letter.
Bishop Joseph Kallarangatt had, while addressing a gathering at Marth Mariam Pilgrim Church at Kuravilangad in Kottayam district on Wednesday, September 9, had said that non-Muslims are subjected to 'Narcotic Jihad' in Kerala. He had said that 'Narcotic Jihad' involved spoiling the life of non-Muslims, particularly young people, by making them addicted to drugs, the Bishop had said. However, he offered no proof to back his blatant statements.
On Sunday, September 12, Kerala Muslim Jamaath Secretariat chaired by AP Aboobacker Musaliyar, General Secretary of the All India Sunni Jamiyyathul Ulama, said that no one should try to make the environment turbulent by creating unncessary controversies. The secretariat also called the Bishop's statement inappropriate and said that both religious and community leaders should be more responsible.
The BJP state general secretary in the letter to the Union Home Minister said that the Chief Minister of the state, as well as the opposition leader, had come out against the Bishop and that this has given strength to the Islamist organisations to conduct a public protest against the Bishop. On Friday, September 10, over 200 workers of Muslim organisations under the aegis of the Muslim Aikya Vedi had staged a march to the Bishop's House in Pala of Kottayam district seeking action against the prelate.
George Kurien, while addressing media persons at Kochi said, "The position taken by the Chief Minister and that of the state opposition leader have given strength to the divisive organisations and for the first time in the history of the state, extremist organisations conducted a march towards the Bishop's House." He said that the extremists who took part in the march used filthy language against the Bishop near the Bishop's house. The senior BJP leader said that the extremists had also threatened the Bishop that he would not be allowed to walk freely in the streets. George Kurien added, "In this context of threat to the life of a Bishop, I have requested Union Home minister, Amit Shah to provide protection to Bishop Joseph Kallarangatt."
Union Minister of State for External Affairs and former Kerala state president of BJP, V Muraleedharan had on Saturday said that the period of ‘Palm Chopping of Islamic Extremists’ is over and that the BJP would give complete protection to the Bishop. While the BJP has backed the Bishop, the Congress and other parties lashed out at him. Jose K Mani, leader of the Kerala Congress(M), also came out supporting the Bishop. He reportedly said that the Bishop had alerted the public about a social evil. KC(M) is notably a constituent of the ruling Left Democratic Front headed by the CPI(M) in Kerala.
(With IANS inputs)
(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)
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