Updated: September 19, 2021 8:25:27 pm
The Congress in Kerala on Sunday said it would call a meeting of various religious leaders in the state to spread the message of communal harmony, in the wake of controversial ‘narcotic jihad’ remarks made by a catholic bishop.
KPCC Chief K Sudhakaran and Leader of Opposition in the assembly, V D Satheesan held talks with Muslim religious heads today as part of the party’s efforts to resolve the row over the comments made by Pala bishop Joseph Kallarangatt recently.
The senior Congress leaders met Sayyid Muhammad Jifri Muthukkoya Thangal, the leader of Samastha Kerala Jem’iyyathul Ulema and Grand Mufti of India, Kanthapuram A P Aboobacker Musliyar.
Later, speaking to reporters, Sudhakaran said the KPCC has decided to take up conciliatory talks between the Christian and Muslim communities as the state government “failed to take up the responsibility”.
“We understand that nobody in our society wants to spread hatred and want all the religious leaders to come together to discuss and address the matter. The KPCC will convene a meeting of all religious leaders in order to spread the message of religious harmony,” he said.
Alleging that certain online media houses were attempting to cause disharmony in the state, Satheesan asked the government to take stern action against them.
Noting that responsibility of the Left government was to stand with all communities in the state, Thangal, who was present at the press meet, said, “If such a statement comes from the Bishop, then the government stand should not be in a manner justifying it. The government should stand for all communities and it is its responsibility.”
If there is something called ‘love jihad,’ then it should be probed, he said.
Asked whether he will participate in the conciliatory meeting called by the Congress party, Musaliyar termed the statement of the Bishop as ‘wrong’ and said it needs to be corrected.
The bishop had at a function on September 9 stated that Christian girls were falling prey to ‘love and narcotic jihad’ in Kerala and wherever arms cannot be used, extremists were using such methods to destroy the youth of the state.
Senior BJP leader C K Padmanabhan had on Saturday said one cannot blame any particular religion for the narcotics issue.
The statement of Padmanabhan assumes significance as the BJP had alleged that the Congress and the CPI(M) were taking a position in favour of extremist elements creating trouble in the society instead of addressing the issue raised by the senior Christian priest.
On Thursday, Sudhakaran and V D Satheesan met senior priests of Christian and Muslim communities to calm tempers following the remark of the bishop.
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