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End row over Bishop's narcotic jihad comment through a permanent solution: Congress to Kerala govt

03:39 PM Sep 14, 2021 | PTI

Thiruvananthampuram: The opposition Congress on Tuesday urged the Kerala government to convene an all-party meeting to find a "permanent solution" to end the row over the ''narcotic jihad'' remark by Pala Bishop Joseph Kallarangat and accused it of remaining a "mute spectator" while both the Christian and Muslim communities were heading towards a conflict.

However, the BJP, which had supported the Bishop on the controversial remark, brought the attention of the Christian community to the recent political tie-up between the Left Democratic Front and the Social Democratic Party of India in the Erattupetta Municipality and tried to establish that the LDF and the CPI(M) would extend support to extremist groups.

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SDPI is a political arm of the Popular Front of India (PFI).

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A group of people, who was not at all a party in the matter, were indulging in hate campaign in the social media platforms to add fuel to the fire and thus disrupt communal harmony in the southern state, V D Satheesan, Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, said here.

However, the Left government was doing nothing to end the conflict and remaining a mute spectator, he alleged.

He urged Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to go through the social media posts on the ''narcotic jihad'' remark by the Catholic priest and asked what his government, intelligence department and the cyber cell of the police were doing when vested interests were trying to trigger communal clashes over it.

Stating that Congress had taken a strong stand in the issue to prevent clashes between the two communities, he said they would support any government endeavour to end the tension.

"The government should be ready to convene an all party meeting, participating all leaders concerned from both the communities, and find a permanent solution in the issue. There are those who are waiting to use the opportunity to burn Kerala down to ashes. We repeatedly request everyone not to fall into their trap," he added.

BJP state Chief K Surendran, however, alleged that the SDPI councillors in the Erattupetta Municipality were the ones who had taken out a violent protest march towards the Bishop House over his ''narcotic jihad'' remark and the CPI(M)''s decision to foster a political tie-up with them was its "arrogance" towards the "suppressed Christian community" in the state.

The LDF had toppled the UDF-led council of the Erattupetta Municipality with the support of the SDPI members and a Congress councillor, who turned hostile, on Monday.

"The Marxist party is now moving towards a public political tie-up with the SDPI. The collaboration is a grave threat to the secular stand adopted by the state. The CPI(M) has joined hands with the anti-national forces for political gains. It is anti-democratic," he told reporters in Palakkad.

He asked how the Left party, which always preaches about secularism, could collaborate with a group which had allegedly triggered several communal clashes in the southern state.

"The Christian community and the secular mindset in Kerala should discuss this," Surendran said, adding that the ''narcotic jihad'' was a usage mentioned in many conferences of the United Nations as ''narcotic terrorism'' and it was not a new issue.

Also Read: Narcotic jihad: As row over Kerala Bishop's statement continues to rage, here is all you need to know

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