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Centre to discuss 'narcotic jihad' with Kerala church heads

September 23, 2021 16:33 IST

A day after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan rejected the opposition suggestion for calling an all-party meeting to discuss the controversial 'narcotic jihad' remark by a Catholic bishop, Rajya Sabha MP Suresh Gopi on Thursday said the Centre would soon convene a meeting of church heads in the state to discuss their concerns.


Image used only for representation. Photograph: István Kis from Pixabay

The actor-turned-politician said such a meeting was planned much earlier but it would be expedited in the current situation in the state.

Reiterating his support to Pala Bishop Joseph Kallarangatt, whose 'narcotic and love jihad' remarks had triggered a widespread controversy in the southern state, Gopi said the bishop had not spoken ill of any community.

"The Centre will surely give a chance to the affected community (in the issue) to appraise their concerns. A two-day long programme, comprising meetings of church heads and seminars, was decided to be conducted in 2019 itself," he told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.

When pointed out to the chief minister's statement that there was no factual basis for the propaganda regarding 'narcotic jihad', the Rajya Sabha member said no former DGPs, who had expressed concerns about the presence of extremist forces in the state, had so far rejected the matter raised by the Catholic priest.

The 'Kaliyattam' actor said though his stand was also not to annoy any community, as the chief minister said, a social evil could not be ignored for that.

"If there is a social evil, should not we nip it in the bud?" he asked.

Vijayan, while addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, had rejected the opposition parties' demand to convene an all-party meeting to resolve the issue, saying the remarks were not made by persons related to any political party.

"The issue is a wrong remark (made by the Bishop). All parties have made their stand clear on the issue," Vijayan said, adding that on the basis of the stand taken by the parties, a response should come from those who made the remarks.

He also said attributing crimes related to narcotics to a particular religion is wrong.

Bishop Kallarangatt had said recently that Christian girls were falling prey to the alleged love and narcotic jihad in Kerala and wherever arms cannot be used, extremists were using such methods to destroy the youth.

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