- Love Jihad has become a hot political topic in the state and many Christian people and leaders are now raising this issue.
- Communist Kerala government needs to take strict action against love jihad cases or bring an Uttar Pradesh government-like law.
In the last few months, many pastors of the Kerala Catholic Bishop Council (KCBC) were regularly raising their voice against all kinds of Jihad – Love Jihad, Narcotics Jihad, Property Jihad, and many others.
This has become a hot political topic in the state and many Christian people and leaders are now raising this issue. However, anticipating that the rising anti-Jihad sentiment would benefit BJP and Kerala Congress (Mani), the KCBC said that now it will be guarded in its sermons.
“In future, our statements, speeches and responses will be guarded. We will be very cautious as we do not want to hurt the sentiments of other communities. The Church always stands for openness and strengthening the secular fabric of the society by enriching the communal harmony,” the official said in his first of such interactions, after the bishop’s remarks rocked the state.
The KCBC, which includes bishops of Syro-Malabar, Syro-Malankara, Knanaya Catholic and Latin Catholic church, now wants to ‘depoliticize’ the topic – probably under pressure from Kerala CM P Vijayan – in order to ensure that it does not benefit the BJP and its potential allies. The statement of KCBC comes after the bishop of Pala diocese of Syro-Malabar Church raised the issue of “Narcotics and Love Jihad”.
The organization also denied that any factionalism or the difference of opinions exists among various churches over the issue. “The KCBC disapproves of any covert attempts to show that there exists disunity among the Churches. The fundamental values of truth, love and justice, which the Catholic Church upholds, constitute the basis of all inter-religious dialogue and harmony among religions,” it had said in the release.
The statement probably comes due to pressure from the political establishment which anticipates that political parties like IUML, BJP, Kerala Congress (M) would benefit if this topic becomes a burning issue.
In Kerala, almost all mainstream leaders and people like E Sreedharan have also raised the love Jihad issue. “Love jihad, yes, I see what’s happened in Kerala. How Hindus are being tricked in a marriage and how they suffer…not only Hindus, Muslims, the Christian girls are being tricked in a marriage. Now that sort of a thing I certainly will oppose.” Coming from a man of science, who has had a distinguished career of spearheading the Delhi metro and Konkan Railway projects, such assertions have put left liberals in an uncomfortable spot.
Kerala Congress (Mani) chief Jose K Mani had said that love jihad is a major issue and needs to be studied and addressed. “There are some cases which have come up that need to be addressed, we should definitely address it. If something like this is taking place, we should address it,” Mani said.
“There are some issues and apprehension about this. The government should clearly come out about what has happened and if there are any such cases (of ‘love jihad’), they should be addressed and stopped,” he added.
In the last few months, the Christian community in Kerala has consistently raised the issue of love jihad. Previously, Kerala Catholics Bishop Council Deputy General Secretary Varghese Vallikkat stood up against the phenomenon and said that “love jihad” should be addressed at a broader level and “secular political parties should at least accept” that it existed in Kerala.
However, now the KCBC is trying to push the issue under the carpet, probably due to pressure from the Vijayan government. But given the scale of this issue in the state and the rising number of victim families, the issue will keep coming in social and political debates until the government takes strict action against love jihad cases or bring an Uttar Pradesh government-like law.