Figures prove Catholic bishop’s ‘jihad’ remarks not true: Vijayan

Breaking his silence on the issue, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday cited figures to show that a statement made by a Catholic bishop that it was one particular community which was behind ‘love and narcotic jihad’ in the state was not true.

“It was an unfortunate remark which has raked up an unfortunate controversy. Love and narcotics (jihad) cannot be attributed to one particular religion. And using that to create issues in our state by vested interests will not happen.

“This has now become a debating issue here, but facts and figures prove that conversion and narcotics issue is totally wrong… when one looks into the numbers, one fails to see it is linked to any minority community,” he told media persons.

Furnishing figures, Vijayan said as per 4,941 drug abuse cases registered in 2020, there are 5,422 people accused of which 2,700 are Hindus, 1,869 are Muslims and 853 are Christians.

On the issue of the presence of Keralites in Islamic State (IS), he said, according to the figures until 2019, there were about 100 Malayalees, of which 72 of them reached foreign countries and were attracted to IS philosophy there.

“Of this, apart from Praju, son of Damodaran, hailing from Kozhikode, the rest were all born Muslims, while 28 who went from Kerala to IS, barring five who converted to Islam, all the rest were born as Muslims,” said Vijayan, who also pointed the state government since 2018 is conducting a de-radicalisation programme and are bringing back those who have gone on the wrong path.

A row broke out after the remark made by Pala Archdiocese’s Bishop Mar Joseph Kallarangat, at a function at Marth Mariam Pilgrim Church at Kuruvilangad in Kottayam district on September 9, alleging that non-Muslims in Kerala are subjected to “Love and Narcotic Jihad”, which is spoiling lives, particularly of young people, by making them addicted to drugs.

The Congress and the BJP here have been using this statement to attack Vijayan as he failed to react so far.