We don't aim at communal polarization: KCBC backs Kerala bishop's “love and narcotic jihad” remark
Putting its weight behind a Kerala Catholic bishop who made controversial "love and narcotic" remark linking to religion, the Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council (KCBC) backed his comment while stating that it was not making allegations against one community.
The KCBC, in a statement, urged the Kerala government to take necessary action against "terrorist movements and drug mafia." "Kerala is facing serious social crises. Some of the important ones are presence of terrorist movements and shocking increase in drug use. Despite warnings by various investigative agencies, no probe was done into backgrounds of these groups, [sic]" the ANI quotes the organisation as saying in a statement.
The statement added, "Govt should be prepared to take appropriate action by properly probing concerns of public regarding terrorist movements & drug mafia. It's not an allegation against any community. This is to expose serious challenges facing Kerala community. [sic]"
Bishop of Pala Diocese of the Syro-Malabar church, Mar Joseph Kallaranghatt made controversial comments at an event organised by the church at Kuruvilangad. He alleged that non-Muslim women and largely Christian girls are being trapped by extremists who brainwash and convert them.
"Two such means are love jihad and narcotic jihad. As jihadis know that it is not easy to destroy people belonging to other religions using weapons in a democratic country like ours, they attempt other such means to achieve their target," Kallarangatt was quoted as saying by the PTI.
He highlighted former DGP Loknath Behera's recent statement where the ex-cop claimed that Kerala had become recruiting ground for terror outfits and a sleeper cell of extremist groups exists in the state.
The Catholic bishop then added that the converted people are being sent to terrorist camps in Afghanistan. "Nowadays, Christian girls are largely becoming victims of such traps...We need to recognise that jihadis, with extreme mindset, have laid the trap in schools, colleges, hostels, commercial establishments and other such public places and institutions with an aim to lure the girls at their tender age," he said.
He also spoke about youths being targeted by the same men through drugs.
Now, the KCBC has urged the community leaders to address the issue to maintain social harmony. The statement added, "Prejudice that such revelations are communally motivated isn't good. Instead, community leaders should take over to address such vulnerabilities & maintain social harmony. We don't aim at communal polarization, but at communal harmony and co-operation."
However, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan rejected the Bishop's remarks stating that narcotics has no religion and people holding responsible should not make such remarks which could divide the society.
"Persons holding such respectable positions should be careful while making such a statement. It will create unnecessary rift and animosity. It is a fact that all religions and governments are concerned about increased use of narcotics. It is not proper to put everything into the account of a particular section," he said.
A day after the controversy broke out, the Muslim community took a protest march to his house raising objections over his views and the following day Catholic groups took out a rally extending their support to him.
However, the BJP supported Bishop's views and being targeted for speaking "unpleasant truth."