‘Narcotic jihad’ row: Congress to call meet of Kerala religious leaders

Congress’ Kerala President K. Sudhakaran on Sunday said that the party would convene a meeting of religious heads to tamp down tempers following a Bishop’s statement that Christian children should be safe guarded against “Narcotic Jihad” that is being pushed by a specific section of people.

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

After his speech went became viral, several groups came out against the Bishop, especially Muslim organisations, and some extreme organisations carried out a protest march towards his house and even raised slogans of physically attacking him.

Addressing media after meeting several Muslim religious heads including Samastha Kerala Sunni Students Federation head, Jiffri Muthukoya Thangal, and Mujahid movement’s T.P. Abdulla Koya Madani, Sudhakaran, accompanied by Leader of Opposition, V.D. Satheeshan, said: “Congress is planning to convene a meeting of religious and community leaders. Such a meeting should have been convened by the state Chief Minister and as he is not doing anything, the state Congress will spearhead such a meeting.”

He also said Satheeshan had written two letters to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to take an initiative to call a meeting of religious heads to calm the flared tempers, but to no avail. “Hence the Congress, being a responsible political party in the state, would be taking the initiative to convene a meeting of religious heads and community elders and will announce the date soon”.

Satheeshan said: “The meeting of religious and community heads will be convened by us as the Chief Minister has not taken any initiative even after I wrote a few letters to him on the same.”

Meanwhile, BJP state General Secretary and former Vice Chairman of the party’s Minority Morcha, George Kurien, had written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, seeking security for the Pala Bishop as “Muslim extremists had threatened him publicly with dire consequences”.

In a related development, senior Congress leader, K. Muraleedharan, addressing a public meeting at Thiruvananthapuram, said that those who were instrumental in the death of human rights activist and priest, Stan Swamy, are now shedding “crocodile tears”, in a reference to the BJP and RSS leaders visiting the Pala Bishop.